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Blood Press Monit. 2002 Feb;7(1):41-4.

Self-monitored blood pressure: a role in clinical practice?

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Department of Medical Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK.


Electronic self-monitoring of blood pressure is increasing in popularity and most international guidelines on the management of hypertension approve cautious use of the technique in the assessment of potentially hypertensive individuals. A recent editorial in the Archives of Internal Medicine suggested that it was "appropriate to encourage the widespread use of self recorded BP as an important adjunct to the clinical care of the patient with hypertension". Such a statement is based on increasing evidence that self-monitoring of blood pressure gives similar information to daytime ambulatory blood pressure -- a now well-established technology in the management of hypertension. Suggested strategies for the use of self-monitoring of blood pressure include monitoring in individuals whose clinical risk status is low enough that they need not necessarily be given medical therapy simply on the basis of a clinic pressure (i.e. at a 10 year risk of cardiovascular disease below 20%). The threshold for defining 'normotension/hypertension' is now regarded as being broadly similar for ABPM and SBPM and is set at 135/85 mmHg. In a recent meta-analysis of all available studies the average difference between these techniques, using the same patients, is -1.7/1.2 mmHg. There is some evidence that careful use of self-monitoring may improve blood pressure control in patients who are otherwise resistant to care. Self-monitoring of blood pressure has now been shown in at least one major prospective study to predict outcome better than clinic pressures and in that setting it now has equivalence to the use of ABPM. There remain issues regarding the availability of validated devices, the quality of training of patients in their use and the possibility that inaccurate recording might occur, either deliberately or by accident. Self-monitoring of blood pressure may well not give the same readings as carefully measured blood pressure by research nurses but its use is clearly superior to routine clinical practice. The technique is ripe for widespread application.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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