Blood pressure measured at home is as accurate as 24-hour ambulatory monitoring, so either can be used to adjust medication taken to lower blood pressure, according to Finnish researchers.
Dr. Teemu J. Niiranen and colleagues at the University of Turku note that no studies have directly compared blood pressure measurements obtained by ambulatory monitoring, using a recorder that is worn continuously for 24 hours, with an at-home measuring device.
So the researchers enrolled 98 patients who had untreated high blood pressure, who were randomly assigned to routine home monitoring or ambulatory monitoring.
At 6-week intervals, average home blood pressure measurement or one 24-hour session of ambulatory blood pressure monitoring was used to adjust their anti-hypertensive treatment to bring their blood pressure down to a target level.
During 6 months of follow-up, blood pressure decreased significantly in both groups, and the changes were not significantly different between the two methods, the researchers report in the American Journal of Hypertension.
Dr. Niiranen told Reuters Health that “the main clinical implication of our study is that home blood pressure measurement can be used effectively for guiding anti-hypertensive treatment.”
Dr. George S. Stergiou, author of an accompanying editorial, added that the home approach, “is more convenient and better accepted by the patients for long-term use and also less costly compared to ambulatory monitoring.”
However, Stergiou of the University of Athens, Greece also told Reuters Health that “important requisites for its clinical application are training of patients and use of validated automatic devices that take measurements in the arm.”
SOURCE: American Journal of Hypertension, May 2006.
Revision date: July 7, 2011
Last revised: by Andrew G. Epstein, M.D.