Measure BP at home to diagnose hypertension

AMBULATORY blood pressure monitoring at home should be used routinely to clarify a diagnosis of hypertension, according to new UK general practice guidelines.

The UK’s National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE), recommended practices move toward the ambulatory monitoring of patients before making an official diagnosis of hypertension.

They said clinicians should offer 24-hour monitoring to confirm a diagnosis of hypertension if the first and second blood pressure measurements taken during a consultation are both higher than 140/90 mmHg.

Previous UK guidelines recommended a formal diagnosis of hypertension be made if a patient’s blood pressure is raised at two subsequent GP visits.

Australian guidelines recommend ambulatory monitoring if the diagnosis is in doubt or if ‘white coat’ hypertension is suspected.

Research has shown about a quarter of patients may have ‘white coat’ hypertension