Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring

What is Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring?

Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) is a machine that measures blood pressure at regular intervals while at home for a period of 24hrs.  

Why might I need an Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitor?

Some children and adults will have high blood pressures when measured at school or by the doctor's office.  This is called "white coat hypertension".  This is due to a certain level of anxiety or nervousness during the measurement.  As the cuff inflates they tend to tense up.  This special home test helps us figure out if a child has high blood pressure when at home and relaxed. 

This test can help figure out patients where the home measurements seem inconsistent with some being high and others being normal.

We may use this test to see how patients are effected by medication.  

This test may also be used to see differences in sleeping and awake blood pressures to evaluate for issues with sleep.  

How do I prepare for a Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitor?

You should plan to do it an a day where you won't be doing intense activity (jogging, running, biking, etc.).  We don't recommend weight-lifting or heavy exercise while using it.  

When you feel the cuff tighten you should stop what you are doing and remain still.  You should extend the arm and relax.  If you are standing, relax your arm and let it hang at your side.  You don't have to sit during measures but it may help.  If you do any significant activity please record what it was and when.  This is also a good palce to report symptoms. 

If the monitor misses a reading you will feel the cuff inflate again after 1-2 minutes to try another reading.  

This is a 24 hour test so you will be asked to wear it during sleep as well but the measurements will become less frequent during the night.

You should make sure to record what time you went to sleep and what time you woke up.  

Do not shower or bathe with the monitor.

Do not disconnect any wires or push any buttons on the monitor as this may erase your information. 

What do I need to do while wearing the monitor?

When the cuff infalte stop what you are doing and remain as still as possible so it can get an accurate measurement.  Extend your arm and try to relax.  If you are walking or standing that is fine just let your arm hand at your side.

Avoid vigorous activity like jogging/running, biking and gym.

You may feel th monitor re-inflate in about 1-2 mins if it doesn't get an accurate measure.

At bedtime you can place the monitor a safe distance away so youn won't roll onto it.

Do not shower or bathe with the monitor.

If  I remove the cuff how do I put it back on?

Make sure it is on the same position it was before with it just above the elbow in the center of your arm.  

With your arm extneded and palm up the tubing should be visible coming out of the cuff toward your hand in the center of the forearm.  

When will my results be ready?

It may take up to 1 week for your results to be ready.  We typically discuss results at your next office visit or will call you with the results.  If you don't have a follow-up visit scheduled and haven't received results after 1 week then we ask you call our office and leave a message with our staff.  We will make every attempt to call you back the same day.  

What should I know about returning the monitor?

The monitor will be inspected when you return it so make sure when you first pick it up you note any damage that was there before you leave with it.  

We ask all our patients to return the monitor at the time discussed when you pick it up.  We have limited monitors so if they are returned late another patient may have to be rescheduled.  We thank you for your help in returning the monitors promptly.  

Feel free to call with questions, 423-610-1099

Tri-City Pediatric Cardiology