/publications/issue/2006/2006-01/2006-01-5171

Home Monitoring Helps Control BP

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According to a report in the American Journal of Hypertension (November 2005), patients who monitor their own high blood pressure (BP) at home show better overall control of their condition than those who just rely on standard monitoring at their physicians' offices. A study was conducted at Turku University Hospital in Finland as the result of disagreement over the effectiveness of home monitoring. The study involved 55 primary health care centers.

A group of 113 patients measured their BP at home using an automated device twice daily for 7 days and then again at 2, 4, and 6 months. They returned their results to their respective physicians' offices. Another group of 119 patients had their BP measured in their primary care physicians' offices at the same time periods. The physicians in both groups were instructed to intensify treatment if target BP was not met.

At the end of the study, both groups showed marked drops in BP, but the effects were more pronounced in the home-monitoring group. The researchers also noted that more patients in the home-monitoring group reached their target BP. This may be partially related to more changes in BP medications during the study: 85 changes in the home-monitoring group versus 73 in the comparison group