Does your doctor check blood pressure in both arms?


Last week we did a crosstalk with Dr. Nancy and Brian Williams about how differences > 10 mm Hg in systolic blood pressure between the right and left arms could be a signal of peripheral vascular disease.

I want to use this simple news segment as an example of what I do on a regular basis for shorter pieces. After we got our pitch approved for this story last week, I have been reading the original research article in the Lancet, coming up with the most important points, and brainstorming with the other intern and Nancy how it would look as a 45 second cross talk.

As preparation for the piece I had to relearn a lot about peripheral vascular disease, since I feel like I’ve forgotten a ton since boards last May! I read up using the usual sources – UpToDate, PubMed, MedLine. Then one of the producers wrote the script and Nancy, Stacey, and I checked it to make sure everything was factually correct. I remember one of the things we had to double check was whether or not peripheral vascular disease is always bilateral. It’s not – the extent of disease depends on the extent of blockage of that vessel due to a number of causes such as inflammation of the arteries, diabetes, raynaud’s, etc.

The team also put together a graphic for the piece – a clear mannequin on which we could represent blood flow and blood blockage.

Putting the entire thing together took the morning and afternoon, and by that evening at 6:30 pm, it was ready to air. This segment will always stick out to me because it’s the first time I actually went into the recording studio to watch her with Brian Williams. Enjoy the video!

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