What is Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring?
Ambulatory blood pressure (ABP) monitoring involves measuring your blood pressure (BP) at regular intervals (usually every 20–30 minutes) over a 24 hour period while patients undergo normal daily activities, including sleep.
The portable monitor is worn on a belt connected to a cuff on the upper arm and uses an oscillometric technique to detect systolic, diastolic and average blood pressure as well as heart rate.
When complete, the device is connected to a computer that prepares a report of the 24 hour, day time, night time, and sleep and awake (if recorded) average systolic and diastolic BP and heart rate.
Why use Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring?
Routine blood pressure monitoring in your doctor’s clinic is useful for screening and management of true hypertension.
However Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring provides a more reliable measure of a patient’s blood pressure than isolated measurements conducted in the doctor’s surgery, particularly in patients susceptible to raised blood pressure in the presence of their doctor (the white coat effect).
Recent recommendations from expert groups such as the United Kingdom’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence strongly advocate wider use of ABP monitoring in the diagnosis and management of hypertension.
How to Prepare
- Make an appointment with one of our designated patient collection collection centres.
- Please bring along your referral letter to the appointment, and a list of the medications you take.
- Wear loose fitting clothing as the cuff inflates on the arm.
- If you have your own belt to wear please bring that to your appointment.
- The monitor and cuff cannot get wet at all.
What to Expect
When you attend your appointment at one of our designated patient collection centres a cuff similar to a blood pressure cuff you would see in your doctor’s office is placed on your non-dominant arm.
A tube is connected from the cuff to a monitor. This monitor is placed on a belt around your waist.
The tubing is placed underneath the clothing so that clothing can be easily removed and replaced.
You will be requested to keep a diary and write down the times any blood pressure medications are taken and to document any exercise performed during the recording period.
Your cuff will inflate every 15 minutes to 1 hour depending upon the time of day and per your treating doctor’s instructions. When the cuff is inflating it is important to keep that arm still and relaxed for the duration of the measurement which usually takes around 30 seconds to 1 minute.
This rule can be ignored if you are driving.
After the Procedure
Once your monitoring period is over, you'll need to come back to our patient centre to return the Blood Pressure Monitor:
- Our technician will remove the monitor
- You hand to the technician the diary you kept while you wore the monitor
You are then free to resume your normal everyday activities. Our cardiologists will review the data from the monitor and will report the results back to your treating doctor directly. These results are normally available to your doctor within 24 to 48 hours.