What is the role of ambulatory blood pressure monitoring in the management of hypertensive patients?
Noninvasive ambulatory blood pressure (BP) recording is now clinically available for the evaluation of hypertensive patients. It is well known that pressures measured in the office or clinic are unreliable and that repeated measurements are better at predicting outcome than are single measurements. Several studies have compared the correlation between target organ damage and different measures of BP, and in every instance ambulatory BP measurements have given better correlations than clinic readings. In one prospective study the ambulatory BP readings were more predictive of BP-related morbidity than were clinic readings. Data are now being obtained that will establish normal ranges of BP during ambulatory monitoring, against which values from patients being evaluated for hypertension can be compared. It is concluded that ambulatory BP monitoring is of clinical value for the evaluation of patients with mild hypertension.