No place like home for accurate blood pressure checks

Research we're watching

Published: March, 2021

Reliable blood pressure readings are vital for diagnosing high blood pressure and estimating a person's risk of heart disease. New research suggests that using a home blood pressure monitor may be more dependable than other methods.

Doctors have long relied on office visits to check people's blood pressure. But growing evidence shows that readings done outside a doctor's office are more closely linked to a person's risk of heart-related problems. Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) involves wearing a device that automatically records blood pressure every 30 to 60 minutes for 24 hours, but it's not widely available.

Researchers compared three techniques in 408 volunteers, with readings taken during three office visits, a week of home monitoring, and ABPM. Home monitoring was more consistently reliable than the other methods and more closely associated with a sign of early heart disease (a slightly enlarged left ventricle, the heart's main pumping chamber). The findings were published Dec. 22, 2020, in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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