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Making sense of blood pressure values in follow-up appointments for hypertension
Sahlgrenska Academy at Göteborg University, Sweden.
Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Sahlgrenska Academy at Göteborg University, Sweden.
2008 (English)In: International Journal of Cardiology, ISSN 0167-5273, E-ISSN 1874-1754, Vol. 123, no 2, 108-116 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]


Although there are effective ways of treating hypertension, only a minority of all hypertensive people reach target blood pressure levels. This may be a function of how patients and physicians put measured values into context when they decide if the blood pressure is well controlled or too high.


Qualitative analysis of audio-taped follow-up appointments for hypertension between 51 outpatients and their 11 physicians. All patients came for routine follow-up appointments for hypertension. The setting was primary and a specialist outpatient care in the south of Sweden.


Borderline blood pressure values led to more deliberation. Common ways of contextualising the blood pressure were by comparing it to previous values and by explaining it in terms of stress or lack of rest. The net effect of this was that the representativity and severity of the measured blood pressure value were downplayed by both patients and physicians. In some instances, physicians (but not patients) worked in the opposite direction. Patients were less actively engaged in interpreting the blood pressure values, stated their views about therapy less often, and were careful not to express views that were overly critical of the drug treatment.


Patients and physicians make sense of the blood pressure through a contextualisation process which tends to normalise the face values towards the reference values. The resulting (processed) value is the one acted upon. Discursive handling of the blood pressure therefore makes up an important part of the decision-making.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2008. Vol. 123, no 2, 108-116 p.
Keyword [en]
kommunikation, samtal, läkare-patient
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-44438DOI: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2006.11.172PubMedID: 17399812Local ID: 76640OAI: diva2:265300
Available from: 2009-10-10 Created: 2009-10-10 Last updated: 2013-12-16Bibliographically approved

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Linell, Per
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