Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring (ABPM) is an important test that involves measuring blood pressure at regular intervals over a 24 hour period, while the patient carries on with normal daily activities and sleeping. This is a useful test for your doctor to understand how your blood pressure changes throughout the day and is also effective to see how well your blood pressure medicines are working.
How does 24 hour ABPM work?
ABPM is measured using a digital portable monitor, which is used to detect systolic, diastolic and average blood pressure readings as well as the heart rate of the patient. The monitor is fitted in the hospital and stays on your body for the full 24 hours. First the nurses will attach a cuff onto your upper arm, which is then attached to the blood pressure monitor. The monitor is then placed within a small pouch and worn around your waist with a belt. The monitor will inflate the cuff and perform a recording every 15 – 30 minutes during the daytime and every 30 – 60 minutes at night over the next 24 hours. The first reading will be taken at the hospital, to ensure that it works properly, after which the patient will be sent home to carry on with normal daily tasks. The monitor can be work whilst going about your everyday activities, giving an accurate impression of how your blood pressure behaves under normal circumstances.
Important things to consider if doing a 24 hour ABPM
When fitting for the 24 hour ABPM, we recommend wearing a two-piece outfit with a loose top, as you will have to remove your top. Patients will need to keep the monitor on throughout the night; it can be placed under the pillow or on the bed while sleeping to ensure comfort. In addition, the monitor cannot get wet, so patients will not be able to go swimming or take a bath or shower. The machine will beep prior to taking a reading – when this happens, you should sit down if possible, keep your arm steady and keep the cuff at the same level as your heart. Patients will also be asked to keep a diary of daily activities just before the reading was taken, time of taking medication and what time you were resting etc in order to see the effects of this on your readings.
Western Hospital conducts 24 Hour Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring in addition to various other diagnostic services, ensuring that our patients’ needs are well met.