What is 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring?
An ambulatory blood pressure monitor is a portable blood pressure recording device. It is a way of measuring and managing high blood pressure (hypertension). This monitoring allows multiple blood pressure readings to be recorded over a 24-hour period, whether the patient is awake or asleep. The readings will be completed every 20 minutes while the patient is awake and every 30 minutes while asleep. Multiple blood pressure readings can be averaged over the 24-hour period to obtain a variety of statistics, including the average blood pressure, variations in blood pressure or heart rate and the blood pressure distribution pattern.
Why is 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring used?
Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring provides additional information about how your changes in blood pressure may correlate to your daily activities and sleep patterns. The monitoring can detect abnormal fluctuations in blood pressure that may go unnoticed when blood pressure is measured at the physician's office.
Are there other uses for 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring?
Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring can be used to determine how well some antihypertensive drugs can control high blood pressure. A physician may need to adjust medications, medication dosages, or time of day the medication is taken, depending on your blood pressure patterns. Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring can also help to predict the likelihood of cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease linked to hypertension and organ damage. It also may be suitable for other situations such as:
- Pregnant women with hypertension
- Patients with "borderline" hypertension
- Difficulty controlling blood pressure with medication
- Changes in prescription medications that may impact blood pressure
- Fainting episodes or low blood pressure (hypotension)
What are disadvantages of 24-hour blood pressure monitoring?
You may experience some discomfort due to the monitoring. Pressure due to repeated inflation ofthe cuff can cause soreness in the upper arm. Blood pressure readings taken during the night may interfere with your sleep. The cuff may also irritate the skin or cause a mild rash that usually goes away on its own.
You will need to download the APP to your phone to be able to record/keep a diary of:
- Your symptoms
- Events such as vigorous activity
- Any stressful episodes
- The times and dosages of any prescription medications you are taking
- The time you go to sleep throughout the monitoring period
If you are not able to download the APP, you will be provided a paper copy to document.
- Please bring a list of your medications with you to your scheduled appointment.
- Wear loose and comfortable clothing
- Let the technician know if you are a shift worker so that the correct timing of the measurements can be programmed on the monitor
- If you have had a mastectomy or if you are on permanent hemodialysis, inform the technician; as this will influence the positioning of the cuff