Are Blood Pressure Devices Available in Qatar Community Pharmacies Validated For Accuracy?
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Research purpose: Hypertension is a leading cause of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in Qatar. Community pharmacist-managed home blood pressure monitoring (HBPM) services have been shown to provide better control of hypertension. Digital BP devices available and sold in community pharmacies are commonly used for HBPM services. Devices validated for accuracy are important for clinical decision-making. Non-validated devices are more likely to be inaccurate and could potentially lead to poor BP control and health risks. The objectives of our study are 1) to identify the proportion of validated BP devices available in community pharmacies in Qatar and 2) to determine the relationship between the validation status of devices and cuff location and price. Methodology: We visited 28 community pharmacies including the 2 major pharmacy chains in Qatar. The following data were collected about BP devices: brand/model, validation status, cuff location, and price. Findings: A total of 87 distinct models of BP devices from 19 different brands are available in Qatar community pharmacies. The three most commonly available brands are Beurer®, Omron®, and Rossmax®. Most models available are upper arm devices (75%) while the rest are wrist devices (25%). Among all models, only 57.5% are validated. Sixty percent of upper-arm devices and 50% of wrist devices are validated. Importantly, 60% of lower-priced (≤ QAR 250) devices are not validated while 83% of higher-priced (QAR 500-750) devices are validated. Research originality/value: This is a novel study that has investigated the validation status of BP devices available in community pharmacies for the first time. This information will serve both pharmacists and the public alike. In Qatar and elsewhere, there are no regulations on the accuracy of devices sold in community pharmacies. Therefore, regulations on the sale of BP devices should be implemented in the best interest of patient safety.