Taking a patient’s blood pressure is standard practice for most medical checkups. But the fact is, if a patient suffers from high blood pressure, or you suspect they might have high blood pressure, taking a periodic reading only provides a snapshot. Over the course of a day or a week, various factors can cause a patient’s heart rate and blood pressure to fluctuate.
Think of it this way: If you want to know what the climate of a city is, you need to do more than take random readings from a thermometer. You could end up thinking Minneapolis is a warm city! Instead, you need to take a number of temperature readings at regular intervals.
To accurately diagnose and monitor a patient, you need a larger, more regular sampling of their blood pressure. An Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitor does exactly this. Over the course of 24 hours, the patient wears this noninvasive device while going about their day. Usually, a patient wears the blood pressure cuff under their sleeve and the monitor, which is about the size of an iPod, on their belt. During the course of the 24-hour period, the patient keeps a diary, recording information about their activities, stress levels, etc. Every 25 to 30 minutes, the Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitor takes a regular reading.
By providing a more accurate representation of a patient’s overall blood pressure than can be measured in a traditional clinical situation, this process can give way to a better diagnosis and more effective treatment.