Ambulatory blood pressure measurement is indispensable to good clinical practice

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The traditional technique of blood pressure measurement is being phased out in most countries and is being replaced by automated measurement. The era of automated blood pressure measurement brings its own problems, not least being the need to evaluate blood pressure measuring devices independently for accuracy. Towards this end, the Working Group on Blood Pressure Monitoring of the European Society of Hypertension has published an international protocol with the aim of having all devices assessed for basic accuracy before being put on the market. The main thrust of this review is that if ambulatory blood pressure measurement has become indispensable to the management of patients with hypertension, it then becomes imperative to encourage the use of ambulatory blood pressure measurement (ABPM) in general practice rather than restricting its availability to specialist hospital centres. However, if ABPM is to be widely used in general practice, there is a need to establish appropriate educational processes and to improve the methods of presenting and analysing ABPM data.

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