Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring

What is this?

Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) is a noninvasive method of obtainingblood pressure readings over twenty-four hours, whilst the patient is in their own environment, representing a true reflection of their blood pressure.

Many studies have now confirmed that blood pressure measured over a 24-hour period is superior to clinic blood pressure in predicting future cardiovascular events and target organ damage.

What does ambulatory blood pressure monitoring involve?

Blood pressure is measured over twenty-four hours using auscultatory or oscillometry and requires use of a cuff. The monitor takes blood pressures every 20 minutes (less frequently overnight, eg 1-hourly).

What are the uses of ambulatory blood pressure monitoring?

  • To obtain a twenty-four hour record - more reliable than one-off measurements. Studies have shown that increased blood pressure readings on ABPM are more strongly correlated to end-organ damage than one-off measurements, eg left ventricular hypertrophy.
  • To detect white coat hypertension.
  • It has use in hypertension research, eg reviewing 24-hour profile of antihypertensive medication.
  • It may have prognostic use - higher readings on ABPM are associated with increased mortality.
  • Response to treatment.
  • Masked hypertension.
  • Episodic dysfunction.
  • Autonomic dysfunction.
  • Hypotensive symptoms whilst on antihypertensive medications.
  • It may be more cost-effective in the long-term.