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Preliminary research presented by the American Heart Association at its hypertension scientific sessions this week in Boston suggests that measuring blood pressure while a person is lying down may be a better predictor of heart health than typical readings when a patient is sitting. Researchers analyzed data from a long-running study and found that supine blood pressure readings were more effective at predicting strokes, serious heart issues, and by comparison. The study’s 11,369 participants were followed for 25 years or more. Compared to those with normal blood pressure while seated and lying down, patients who recorded high blood pressure only while lying down had a greater risk of developing coronary heart disease (53%), heart failure (51%), and stroke (62%), alongside a 34% greater chance of all-cause mortality.

Don’t take this lying down: While the discovery challenges the conventional practice of measuring blood pressure in a seated position, it’s certainly impractical to have patients in the urgent care setting lie down for 20 minutes, as was done in the study. Supine blood pressure offers some insight, but more research is needed, according to the study authors.

Supine Blood Pressure Reading Has Advantages