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BioMed Research International
Volume 2017, Article ID 3537079, 8 pages
Research Article

Quantitative Assessment of Blood Pressure Measurement Accuracy and Variability from Visual Auscultation Method by Observers without Receiving Medical Training

1Department of Cardiology, Second Affiliated Hospital, School of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China
2Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Southern University of Science and Technology, Shenzhen, China
3Department of Medical Science and Public Health, Faculty of Medical Science, Anglia Ruskin University, Chelmsford, UK

Correspondence should be addressed to Wenai Chen; nc.ude.ujz@nehc_ianew and Fei Chen; nc.ude.ctsus@nehcf

Received 29 June 2017; Revised 3 November 2017; Accepted 14 November 2017; Published 20 December 2017

Academic Editor: Kazim Husain

Copyright © 2017 Wenai Chen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This study aimed to quantify blood pressure (BP) measurement accuracy and variability with different techniques. Thirty video clips of BP recordings from the BHS training database were converted to Korotkoff sound waveforms. Ten observers without receiving medical training were asked to determine BPs using (a) traditional manual auscultatory method and (b) visual auscultation method by visualizing the Korotkoff sound waveform, which was repeated three times on different days. The measurement error was calculated against the reference answers, and the measurement variability was calculated from the SD of the three repeats. Statistical analysis showed that, in comparison with the auscultatory method, visual method significantly reduced overall variability from 2.2 to 1.1 mmHg for SBP and from 1.9 to 0.9 mmHg for DBP (both ). It also showed that BP measurement errors were significant for both techniques (all , except DBP from the traditional method). Although significant, the overall mean errors were small (−1.5 and −1.2 mmHg for SBP and −0.7 and 2.6 mmHg for DBP, resp., from the traditional auscultatory and visual auscultation methods). In conclusion, the visual auscultation method had the ability to achieve an acceptable degree of BP measurement accuracy, with smaller variability in comparison with the traditional auscultatory method.