Dr. Henry Black, former President of the American Society of Hypertension, presents this very question in his recent video on Medscape News. While Medscape requires a free login account to view their content, we felt this report rather significant and worthy of sharing.
In the video article, Dr. Black points out that the practices of how we measure blood pressure are changing as technology advances and becomes more available. He also explains that while home monitoring is becoming more commonplace, studies of ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) are telling us more about its unique prognostic benefits.
Dr. Black suggests that ABPM must be done in order to deliver proper care for hypertensive patients.
Dr. Black refers to an international database of over 11,000 subjects who have had an ABPM study and have been monitored for outcomes. When the data was closely analyzed, it was clear that 24-hour blood pressure monitoring, particularly nighttime (asleep) blood pressure levels, were a very important predictor of outcomes for women and something that clinic or home blood pressure monitoring alone would not detect. Due to this fact, Dr. Black suggests that ABPM must be done in order to deliver proper care for hypertensive patients.
When looking at the important information that ABPM provides to guide hypertension diagnosis and treatment, we find it difficult to argue with Dr. Black. However, until ABPM becomes a more widely reimbursed procedure, many physicians may not necessarily agree with making it a required procedure.