It is a service designed to monitor a patient’s blood pressure in 24 hours. It is a non-invasive method by which the blood pressure reading of a patient is obtained over a period of 24 hours. The patient is allowed to stay in his/her own environment in order to obtain a true reflection of the blood pressure. Researchers say that, 24-hours ambulatory blood pressure monitoring is more effective than clinical blood pressure checkup. It is more good in predicting future cardiovascular events and determining organ damage.
The procedure is very simple and do not require any special preparations. The blood pressure is measured using a oscillometry device or auscultatory device over a 24-hour time period. The blood pressure is monitored in every 20-30 minutes. Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring is used for various purposes:
- To obtain a more distinct and reliable blood pressure measurement.
- To identify white coat hypertension.
- Used for hypertension research purpose.
- Used for prognostic purpose.
- To analyse the response to treatment.
- To detect masked hypertension.
- To detect episodic dysfunction.
- To detect autonomic dysfunction.
- To identify hypotensive symptoms.
Abnormal ambulatory blood pressure measurement is when it is above 140/90 mm Hg during day and 125/75 mm Hg during night. During the 24-hour blood pressure monitoring, it is important to allow the machine work properly. The tube to the machine should not be bent or twisted. During monitoring, the patient will be advised to:
- Sit down.
- Keep the arm balanced.
- Keep the cuff at heart level.
The entire procedure is done using a small digital blood pressure machine attached to a belt. This machine fits around the body of the patient. It is connected to a cuff around the upper arm. The machine used is very small and can be used without any discomfort. The machine is programmed with the patient`s particulars and fitted at the clinic after which the patient can continue with routine activities over a 24 hour period and preferably it should be carried out over a working day when the patient continues normal occupational routine.
After 24 hours the machine is removed and 24 hour data stored in the machine is transferred to a computer for detailed analysis. The cardiologist can then accurately advise about the hypertension treatment.