A consensus view on the technique of ambulatory blood pressure monitoring
Blood Pressure Monitoring, Ambulatory
This review, based on the Fourth International Consensus Conference on Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring (Leuven, Belgium, 1994), deals with the technical aspects of ambulatory blood pressure monitoring. Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring by noninvasive intermittent techniques is widely used despite artifacts due to cuff size, movement, body position, short-term blood pressure variability, and interference with sleep. The performance of the currently available monitors under truly ambulatory conditions and during exercise remains a matter of debate, as are the procedures required to validate portable monitors under these circumstances. There is general agreement that whenever a monitor is to be used in special populations, such as older subjects or pregnant women, or in special conditions, such as exercise, a specific demonstration of its accuracy in these defined subgroups or conditions is warranted. Whether the auscultatory or oscillometric method is preferred remains controversial because each technique has specific advantages and disadvantages and because both can provide accurate results. Most experts in the field strongly believe that manufacturers should disclose the algorithms of their devices and that they should specify all changes made to the hardware and software of a previously validated monitor. Finally, the development of the volume-clamp method, which makes continuous noninvasive registration of blood pressure at the finger possible in both stationary and ambulatory conditions, opens new perspectives in research, in particular in relation to short-term blood pressure variability.