A NEW ACCOSON SPHYGMOMANOMETER
GIVING ACCURATE BLOOD PRESSURE MEASUREMENT WITHOUT
The fact that blood pressure is still measured
in units of millimeters of mercury shows how entrenched
this unit is in clinical practice. The World Health Organization
has permitted its continuing use at a time when the SI units
have displaced other traditional units from quantitative
The millimeter of mercury remains, but what
about the mercury sphygmomanometer? A recent report from
the Medical Devices Agency in the United Kingdom allowed
the continuing use of mercury, but recommended that alternatives
be considered when blood pressure devices were being purchased.
The Agency saw no clear successor to the traditional instrument,
and required hospitals to introduce health and safety measures
to deal with mercury spills.
The lack of a clear successor to mercury
lay in the question of accuracy. Alternatives did exist,
these being the aneroid and the automated devices. Aneroid
devices are mechanical and can suffer from being knocked
out of calibration. Automated devices are still far from
perfect, as is illustrated by the main validation protocol
which will accept devices that are in error by more than
10 mmHg in 25 percent of patients at a time when clinicians
are asked to measure blood pressure to within 2 mmHg. Further,
the joint publication from the European Society of Cardiology,
European Society of Hypertension and European Atherosclerosis
Society recommends that automated devices are not to be
used when deciding clinical treatment.
A solution to the problem has arrived, the
Accoson greenlight 300 sphygmomanometer
This innovative device has been developed with technical
and scientific support from the Regional Medical Physics
Department in Freeman Hospital and Newcastle University.
The traditional mercury display has been replaced by a series
of bright green LEDs clearly displaying pressure in steps
of 2 mmHg, and for the first time the clinically important
cuff pressure deflation rate is indicated. Most importantly
the device self-calibrates to zero each time it is switched
on, thus ensuring reliable accuracy and mimicking the comfort
factor clinicians have been used to when a mercury column
is on zero before taking a blood pressure measurement.
The Accoson greenlight
300 sphygmomanometer provides a highly accurate and reliable
clinical instrument, eliminates the use of mercury, and
enables the United Kingdom medical device industry to take
a lead in this important area.