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Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring

Nurses At Cardiac Unit

Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring

“Ambulatory BP monitoring provides the physician with more detailed information on night time and day time trends and fluctuations in your blood pressure over a prolonged period, typically 24 hours.”



What is an Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring (ABPM)?

An ABPM is used to measure and record your blood pressure, normally over a 24 hour period, during your normal daily routine.

What does it involve?

A Physiologist will attach the blood pressure monitor and cuff to your upper arm. The cuff will usually be attached to your least dominant arm, for example to your left if you are right handed.

The arm cuff connects via a small tube to the monitoring device, which is a small box on a belt around your waist. The blood pressure cuff will be inflated during your appointment to check the device is recording correctly.
We will set-up the monitor to automatically record your blood pressure every 30 minutes during the day and every 60 minutes throughout the night. During a recording the blood pressure cuff around your arm will inflate. When you feel the cuff starting to inflate you should try to sit down/ stand still with your arm rested and straight (only where possible and safe to do so). You will need to keep still and quite during the recording. If the monitor is unable to record your blood pressure, which can happen for a number of reasons, then it will automatically retry five minutes later, re-inflating the cuff again. The device is automated so you won’t need to do anything.

It is important that you carry on with your normal daily routine whilst you’re wearing the monitor. This includes any exercise you would normally do, as advised by your doctor (if applicable).

You will be given a diary sheet to complete whilst wearing the monitor. Use this to make a note of the exact time and details of any symptoms you may experience. You won’t be able to have a bath or a shower whilst you’re wearing the monitor as it must stay dry.

How will I feel during the test?

The cuff is pumped up to restrict the blood flow in your arm – this squeezing may feel a bit uncomfortable, but only lasts a few seconds.

Why is it being done?

It is used to diagnose conditions relayed to blood pressure control and regulation (e.g. hypertension – high blood pressure, hypotension – low blood pressure, variable blood pressure). It is sometimes used to diagnose a condition called white coat hypertension, which is when high blood pressure readings are caused by being in a clinical environment, such as doctor’s surgery or a hospital. It can also be used to assess the therapeutic benefit of blood pressure medication.


There are no risks associated with the test.


Are there any special precautions that I need to take before the test?

No. You can take all your medication as normal, unless informed otherwise by your doctor. You can eat and drink as normal before and during the test.

After the Test

When and how do I return the monitor?

The monitor must be returned to the Cardiology department on the same day you removed it, or on a mutually convenient date that is prearranged with the clinical team. If you have any issues with returning the monitor, please call the department and inform us immediately as any delays in returning the monitor can prevent other patients from having the test. The monitor must be returned with your diary sheet.

Please note: The monitor must be returned to the Hospital of St John & St Elizabeth on the same day the test ends or at a time agreed with Physiologist. Unfortunately the monitor can not be posted or couriered.


When will I get my results from the test?

We are unable to provide results of the test on the day of your appointment. All results will be sent to the referring doctor. You will need to arrange a follow up appointment with the doctor to discuss the results of the test(s).

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