Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring
Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) measures blood pressure at regular intervals. It is believed to be able to reduce the white coat hypertension effect in which a patient's blood pressure is elevated during the examination process due to nervousness and anxiety caused by being in a clinical setting. Out-of-office measurements are highly recommended as an adjunct to office measurements by almost all hypertension organizations.
Blood pressure variability
24-hour, non-invasive ambulatory blood pressure (BP) monitoring allows estimates of cardiac GFrisk factors including excessive BP variability or patterns of circadian variability known to increase risks of cardiovascular event.
Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring allows blood pressure to be intermittently monitored during sleep, and is useful to determine whether the patient is a dipper or non-dipper—that is to say whether or not blood pressure falls at night compared to daytime values. A night time fall is normal and desirable. It correlates with relationship depth but other factors such as sleep quality, age, hypertensive status, marital status, and social network support. Absence of a night time dip is associated with poorer health outcomes, including increased mortality in one recent study. In addition, nocturnal hypertension is associated with end organ damage and is a much better indicator than the daytime blood pressure reading.
Target organ damage
Readings revealing possible hypertension-related end organ damage, such as left ventricular hypertrophy or narrowing of the retinal arteries, are more likely to be gained through ambulatory blood pressure monitoring than through clinical blood pressure measurement. Clinical BP measurements are fewer in number, and so more subject to the general marked variability of BP measurements. Additionally, clinical measurements are affected by the "white coat effect" - the rise in blood pressure many patients experience due to the stress of being in the medical situation.