What is 24-hour Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring?
24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) monitors your blood pressure over a 24-hour period. You will be given a portable monitor which clips onto your waistband. Connected to this is a cuff which you wear around your upper arm.
The device will take a reading of your blood pressure every 15 minutes throughout the day and every 30 minutes at night.
We will ask you to fill out a diary recording what you’ve done over the 24-hour period, so that changes in blood pressure can be linked to your level of activity.
Why do I need 24-hour Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring?
24-hour readings are more reliable than a one-off reading. Some patients experience “white coat” hypertension, which means their blood pressure goes up when they are in the presence of a doctor. This can lead to them being wrongly diagnosed with high blood pressure.
Your doctor may also recommend 24-hour BP readings if you are taking medication for high blood pressure, to see how well it’s working and make sure it’s controlling your blood pressure throughout the day.
Alternatively, your doctor may use ABPM to monitor you if you suffer from low blood pressure and are feeling weak.
What can I expect?
You will need to shower before having the ABPM device fitted, because once it’s attached you can’t get it wet or remove it.
It consists of a portable monitor, which clips onto your waistband, and a cuff which you wear around your upper arm.
If you are a woman, we recommend wearing a skirt or pants (as opposed to a dress) so that the monitor can clip onto your waistband.
The device works the same as a regular blood pressure check: you’ll notice the cuff around your upper arm inflating and then slowly releasing every time the device takes a measurement. This is usually programmed to happen every 15-30 minutes during the day and every 30-60 minutes at night.
The machine will beep before each reading and when you hear this, you should:
- Sit down (if possible)
- Keep the cuff at the same level as your heart
- Keep your arm as steady as possible
While wearing the device you’ll need to:
- Carry on with your normal routine and activities
- Keep wearing the device at all times, even while sleeping
- Avoid twisting or bending the tube between the device and cuff
- Keep a diary recording what you were doing at the time each reading was taken
- Record any symptoms such as dizziness, light-headedness, chest pain or shortness of breath
After 24 hours, you’ll return to Global Cardiology with the ABPM device and your diary. We’ll remove the device and analyse your results, and a cardiologist will review and recommend a treatment plan to help you manage your symptoms going forward.