24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM)
A blood pressure monitor is a small digital machine that can be attached to your waist line by a strap with by a cuff that is fitted around your upper arm and is worn for 24 hours. You can carry on with your day as normal and wearing it shouldn’t affect your daily activities. As you are wearing this machine for 24 hours you will need to avoid swimming and taking a bath or shower as it cannot get wet.
Your blood pressure will be automatically recorded every 15-30 minutes throughout the day and up to 45 minutes in the night. The cuff on your arm will inflate and slowing release the pressure when it is taking your blood pressure readings. During the reading make sure the tube that is attached to the cuff on your arm is not twisted. Just before your blood pressure is due to be monitored the ABPM machine will beep in advance so you have time to sit down if you can, keep the cuff in line with your heart and keep your arm steady.
Your doctor may have asked you to wear one of these over a 24-hour period because:
You have hypertension (high blood pressure). Sometimes when patients visit our clinics, they get anxious and will automatically raise blood pressure, this is called a “white coat effect” it is essential to perform as 24-hour ABPM for a more accurate reading.
If you are on medication for hypertension, your doctor may want to monitor your blood pressure throughout the day to check how your medications are working and how they are controlling your blood pressure. Also, your blood pressure can change at night and having the 24-hour ABPM will give an insight to whether it stays high at night.
After the 24 hours, you can hand your blood pressure monitor back to your doctor where the data the monitor has collected can be downloaded and analysed. You will be called back to clinic at a later date where your doctor will talk you through the findings.
This article is intended to inform and give insight but not treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a doctor. Always seek medical advice with any questions regarding a medical condition.