This article forms part of our ‘Tests and results’ series for 2011 which aims to provide information about common tests that general practitioners order regularly. It considers areas such as indications, what to tell the patient, what the test can and cannot tell you, and
interpretation of results.
Ambulatory blood pressure (ABP) monitoring involves measuring blood pressure (BP) at regular intervals (usually every 20–30 minutes) over a 24 hour period while patients undergo normal daily activities, including sleep. The portable monitor is worn on a belt connected to a standard cuff on the upper arm (Figure 1) and uses an oscillometric technique to detect systolic, diastolic and mean BP as well as heart rate.1 When complete, the device is connected to a computer that prepares a report of the 24 hour, day time, night time, and sleep and awake (if recorded) average systolic and diastolic BP and heart rate.
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