Italian society of hypertension guidelines for conventional and automated blood pressure measurement in the office, at home and over 24 hours.
This article offers instructions and recommendations on how to perform blood pressure measurements in the doctors office, in the patients home and in ambulatory conditions over 24 hours. Great attention is paid to some of the general aspects of blood pressure measurement, including the accuracy of blood pressure measuring devices, the importance of a white-coat effect, and the need for patient education. This article also deals with a number of practical details, such as the importance of patients relaxation and position, arm position and support, arm selection and cuff selection and application. Recommendations are provided on the observers position and performance, and on the need to pay attention to specific factors affecting the blood pressure measurement in different patient populations, namely in children, elderly and obese people, pregnant women, patients with arrhythmias and patients on treatment. This article then separately focuses on the characteristics of auscultatory and automated measurements, the latter performed either in the office, at home or over 24 hours in ambulatory settings. Home blood pressure monitoring (HBPM) is becoming increasingly important in the diagnosis and management of arterial hypertension. The importance of HBPM in cardiovascular prevention, related to a deeper involvement of patients in their long-term management, and the wide diffusion of this approach in populations, is not always accompanied by adequate knowledge of how to make proper use of this technique, which emphasizes the need for more precise recommendations. This article summarizes the available evidence and provides recommendations on the use of home blood pressure monitoring in clinical practice and in research. It updates the previous recommendations on the same topic issued in 2000. The main topics addressed include the methodology of HBPM, focusing on measurement conditions and procedures, ranging from patient/subject position, to arm selection, arm position and support, cuff selection and application and data reporting, diagnostic and therapeutic thresholds, clinical applications in hypertension (with specific reference to special populations) and its applications in research. Special attention is given to device validation and selection as well as to patient education and to the need of HBPM to be guided by the physician in charge. The final section deals with the problems related to the implementation of these recommendations in clinical practice. Finally, the methodology and clinical impact of 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring are also addressed in detail, focusing on the parameters that can be derived from the analysis of 24-hour blood pressure recordings applied both to the diagnostic and prognostic evaluation of hypertensive patients and to the assessment of the effectiveness of antihypertensive treatment in controlling blood pressure through the day and night. Instructions to users on how to properly perform HBPM are provided as an appendix.