June 6, 2006

Home blood pressure measuring can guide treatment

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Blood pressure measured at home
is as accurate as 24-hour ambulatory monitoring, so either can
be used to adjust medication taken to lower blood pressure,
according to Finnish researchers.

Dr. Teemu J. Niiranen and colleagues at the University of
Turku note that no studies have directly compared blood
pressure measurements obtained by ambulatory monitoring, using
a recorder that is worn continuously for 24 hours, with an
at-home measuring device.

So the researchers enrolled 98 patients who had untreated
high blood pressure, who were randomly assigned to routine home
monitoring or ambulatory monitoring.

At 6-week intervals, average home blood pressure
measurement or one 24-hour session of ambulatory blood pressure
monitoring was used to adjust their anti-hypertensive treatment
to bring their blood pressure down to a target level.

During 6 months of follow-up, blood pressure decreased
significantly in both groups, and the changes were not
significantly different between the two methods, the
researchers report in the American Journal of Hypertension.

Dr. Niiranen told Reuters Health that "the main clinical
implication of our study is that home blood pressure
measurement can be used effectively for guiding
anti-hypertensive treatment."

Dr. George S. Stergiou, author of an accompanying
editorial, added that the home approach, "is more convenient
and better accepted by the patients for long-term use and also
less costly compared to ambulatory monitoring."

However, Stergiou of the University of Athens, Greece also
told Reuters Health that "important requisites for its clinical
application are training of patients and use of validated
automatic devices that take measurements in the arm."

SOURCE: American Journal of Hypertension, May 2006.