Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring

Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) is the method of obtaining 24 hours data of frequent blood pressure readings while the patient is in his/her own environment performing daily routine activities. Various studies have shown that this is a much better reflection of true blood pressure compared to the blood pressure readings taken during doctors visit.

Why is ABPM better than the BP measured in doctor’s clinic?

Blood Pressure specifically systolic blood pressure is very sensitive and responds to every minor physical or emotional stress. The blood pressure measured in doctor’s clinic is often higher due to the stress. Moreover a single blood pressure reading can never reflect upon the true status. The blood pressure keeps on changing through out the day. It is very important to know about the various peaks and troughs of blood pressure that the patient goes through throughout the day. Normally the blood pressure varies significantly between day time and night. This diurnal variation is important and loss of the same is indicative of underlying disease.

ABPM would not only help in diagnosing blood pressure but would also be very much helpful in deciding doses and timing of blood pressure lowering drugs based on the data obtained through 24 hour recording.

How is ABPM measured?

The blood pressure measuring cuff is attached to patients arm along with a tubing (underneath the clothes) that connects with a mobile size equipment which is hung over waist. The equipment is set to record the blood pressure every 15 minutes during day time and every hour during sleeping hours. The machine automatically records blood pressure according to the settings. At the end of 24 hours the data from machine is transmitted to the computer and a detailed report is generated through software.