A new approach may help with the inconvenience and cost related to blood pressure monitoring. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine (Rochester, Minn) found that success in reaching target blood pressure levels appears to be improved using home blood pressure measurements to guide treatment in a physician-supervised, nurse-managed clinic.
The study, reported in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings (January 2005), involved 106 patients who first attended the Hypertension Care Clinic for several days in a row. All of the patients were given a drug treatment plan, and they were educated about hypertension and cardiovascular disease preventive measures. For the study, the patients were told to measure their blood pressure at home twice daily for a 7-day period at 1, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months. The results were then sent to the clinic nurse, and drug treatment was increased if blood pressure readings were not <135/85 mm Hg. The approach proved successful because the percentage of patients who achieved the target blood pressure readings increased from 0% at the beginning of the study to 63% after 1 year.