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The Association of Anaesthetists of GB and Ireland (AAGBI) has produced national guidelines for Blood Pressure control. This guideline aims to ensure that patients admitted to hospital for elective (routine) surgery are known to have blood pressures below 160 systolic and 100 diastolic in primary care.
It is important therefore that your BP is normal or well controlled prior to considering any sort of surgery. (This includes hospital based local or injection type anaesthetics in case you end up needing a general anaesthetic.)
What is hypertension and blood pressure
We all need some pressure to push the blood around our body to supply all the different parts. Because of your heartbeat this pressure comes in pulses and we measure two numbers, when the heart squeezes and the pressure is high (Systolic) and when the heart relaxes and the pressure is low (Diastolic). We write it down as Systolic/Diastolic. Everyone has a blood pressure and a healthy reading in young adults is around 120/70, and we generally consider tablets when it gets to 150/90. High blood pressure, or Hypertension is where your pressure are higher than this.
What to do…
Ensure you know your BP is under the level recommended for surgery (160/100) and is up to date. This generally means measuring it in the last 2-3months.
If you are on treatment for hypertension ensure you know it is well controlled.
If you don’t have known hypertension then ensure you have had your BP checked at least once recently.
How to check…
At Falkland Surgery (where this initiative is based) we recommend the following options
- Home monitoring – buy an arm BP machine from your chemist or online. You need a “BHS validated” machine such as one of the Omron line. The cost is around 25pounds. We have a BP-Monitoring-Sheet (Excel Spreadsheet) for you to record your readings.
- SurgeryPOD, this machine sits in reception and you can drop in anytime to have your BP checked
- We are able to lend out a BP machine for 1-2 weeks (with a small refundable deposit) – ask at reception
- With our nurses/HCA – ask at reception
- If you are seeing your GP about something else ask about your BP
Check with your own surgery to see what they have available.
What to look for…
If your BP is above 160/100 then your surgery might be cancelled or postponed. It is important to get this right before you approach surgery. If you find this to be the case contact the surgery so we can either do more detailed readings or manage your BP appropriately. Once your BP is satisfactory then we can produce a printout of these to give to the hospital.
Please note we generally aim for your BP to be below 150/90 (or 140/80 if you have other illnesses such as diabetes) so these guidelines are specifically about the period approaching operations.
Evidence for this approach