NICE opens consultation on new device for measuring blood pressure and detecting atrial fibrillation


On 15 August, the UK’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) opened a consultation on its draft medical technology guidance on the use of WatchBP Home A (Microlife), a device that measures blood pressure and detects atrial fibrillation. 

The draft recommendations note that using WatchBP Home A in primary care could increase the detection rate of atrial fibrillation when compared with taking someone’s pulse by hand.

The draft guidance also recommends that WatchBP Home A should be considered for use in people with suspected hypertension or those being screened for hypertension in primary care. People with suspected atrial fibrillation should have an electrocardiogram (ECG) in line with NICE clinical guideline 36, Atrial fibrillation.

Professor Carole Longson, director of the NICE Centre for Health Technology Evaluation, said: “The independent Medical Technologies Advisory Committee (MTAC) has produced draft guidance supporting the use of Watch BP Home A, based on the evidence it considered. This evidence indicates that the device can offer advantages in measuring blood pressure and detecting atrial fibrillation and that using the device in primary care could increase the detection rate of atrial fibrillation compared with taking the pulse by hand. This would allow preventative treatment to be given to reduce the incidence of atrial fibrillation-related stroke.

“Using WatchBP Home A is associated with estimated overall cost savings per person screened of between £2.98 and £4.26 for people aged 65 or over, depending on their age. We welcome comments on the draft guidance as part of the current consultation.”

Click here for more information on the medical technology draft guidance consultation for Watch BP. The consultation closes on 12 September 2012.

About the WatchBP Home A device

The WatchBP Home A device is a blood pressure monitor which automatically detects pulse irregularity that may be caused by symptomatic or asymptomatic atrial fibrillation, whilst it records blood pressure. Blood pressure is taken using a cuff which fits around the upper arm, and which is connected to a small unit which records the reading. The monitor can be used for diagnosing hypertension in a clinical setting with the measurement taken under the supervision of a clinician.