The rational management of hypertension (HT) inevitably starts with accurate measurement of blood pressure (BP). The recently published Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial implemented automated office BP measurement. However, event-driven studies have overwhelmingly indicated that out-of-the-office BP monitoring is a prerequisite for risk stratification and for identifying the need of initiating or adjusting antihypertensive drug treatment. 24-Hour ambulatory BP monitoring is the preferred method of BP measurement and addresses major issues not covered by conventional or automated office BP measurement or home BP monitoring, such as reliably diagnosing nocturnal HT (the time window of the day during which BP is most predictive of adverse cardiovascular outcome), hypotension, or masked HT, a condition that affects 15% of the general populations and carries a risk equal to that of HT on both office and out-of-the-office BP measurement. Moreover, 24-hour ambulatory BP monitoring is cost-effective. Outcome-driven criteria support single BP thresholds that can be applied in both sexes and across the age range. In conclusion, the overall evidence now overwhelmingly shows that ambulatory BP monitoring is mandatory for the proper management of HT. Health care providers should therefore facilitate access to this technique in both primary and specialized care.
ASJC Scopus subject areas