Association Pushes for Home Monitoring

FEBRUARY 01, 2005

The American Heart Association (AHA) is encouraging more home monitoring of blood pressure. The recommendation is part of AHA's revised guidelines, which had not been updated since 1993. Thomas G. Pickering, MD, believed the update was necessary because it has become clear that traditional office measurement is enhanced "by having patients record their blood pressure at home." Authors of the guidelines noted that home monitoring is an easy way to measure blood pressure over long periods of time. There is also some evidence that it may encourage individuals to maintain better blood pressure control by adhering to their medications.

Home monitoring may be helpful for individuals whose blood pressure rises as soon as they are in their physician's office, known as "white-coat hypertension." Another benefit of home monitoring is that it may be useful for individuals with masked hypertension. This is a condition where blood pressure is normal in the physician's office, but high in daily life.

In order to ensure that the device is operating properly and the patients are using it correctly, Dr. Pickering recommends that patients bring their monitor to their physician's office.