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International Journal of Vascular Medicine
Volume 2014, Article ID 841542, 4 pages
Research Article

Interarm Difference in Blood Pressure: Reproducibility and Association with Peripheral Vascular Disease

1Coordinating Research Centre, Frederiksberg Hospital, Nordre Fasanvej 57, 2000 Frederiksberg, Denmark
2Department of Clinical Physiology and Nuclear Medicine, Frederiksberg Hospital, Nordre Fasanvej 57, 2000 Frederiksberg, Denmark

Received 31 July 2013; Accepted 9 December 2013; Published 29 January 2014

Academic Editor: Robert M. Schainfeld

Copyright © 2014 Jesper Mehlsen and Niels Wiinberg. 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.


The present study aimed at examining the interarm difference in blood pressure and its use as an indicator of peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Data were included from consecutive patients referred from their general practitioner to our vascular laboratory for possible PAD aged 50 years or older without known cardiac disease, renal disease, or diabetes mellitus. 824 patients (453 women) with mean age of 72 years (range: 50–101) were included. 491 patients had a diagnosis of hypertension and peripheral arterial disease (PAD) was present in 386 patients. Systolic blood pressure was 143 ± 24 mmHg and 142 ± 24 mmHg on the right and left arm, respectively ( ). The interarm difference was greater in patients with hypertension ( ) and PAD ( ). 443 patients were measured on two separate occasions and the interarm difference for systolic blood pressure was reproducible for differences >20 mmHg. This study confirmed the presence of a systematic but clinically insignificant difference in systolic blood pressure between arms. The interarm difference was larger in hypertension and PAD. Consistent lateralisation is present for differences ≥20 mmHg and an interarm difference >25 mmHg is a reliable indicator of PAD in the legs.