Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Is self monitoring of blood pressure in pregnancy safe and effective?

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 18 November 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g6616

Rapid Response:

This article neatly summaries the issues with self monitoring physiological parameters. The pros and cons of this approach could apply to almost any chronic disease.

In respiratory medicine we have seen a new phenomenon of patients (and their carers) buying small portable pulse oximeters. These are available online for less than £20. It is now not unusual for paramedics to be called to a patient's house because self recorded oxygen saturations are low, frequently leading to a hospital admission.

This approach has several problems (as listed in the article) but more pertinently for patients with chronic respiratory disease there are very few treatments that can be started in response to an intermittently low oxygen saturation that patients are not already receiving. This can lead to frustration on behalf of both physician and patient.

Simple advice (based on much needed research) may help address this issue which, given the prevalence of COPD/asthma etc, allied to the falling cost of technology, will become more frequent.

Competing interests: No competing interests

02 December 2014
Dominick E Shaw
Associate Professor
Nottingham Respiratory Research Unit