Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring, or ABPM, is when your blood pressure is measured as you move around, living your normal daily life. It is normally done over a 24-hour period. It uses a small digital blood pressure machine that is attached to a belt and which is connected to a cuff around your upper arm. It small enough that you can go about your normal daily life and even sleep with it on.
What to expect during the test:
- The machine will be fitted at TMC.
- A 24-hour blood pressure measurement is just the same as a normal blood pressure check: a digital machine takes your blood pressure by inflating a cuff around your upper arm and then slowly releasing the pressure. The machine is small enough to be worn on a belt on your waist while the cuff stays on your upper arm for the full 24 hours.
- The machine then takes blood pressure readings at regular intervals throughout the day. You will need to keep the monitor on through the night – you could put the machine under the pillow or on the bed while you sleep.
- Just before the machine is about to take a reading, it will beep. When this happens you should sit down, if possible, and keep the cuff at the same level as your heart while keeping your arm steady.
- Because the test is being carried out to find out what your normal daily blood pressure is, it is important to carry on with your normal routine and do all the things you would normally do. The only things you should avoid doing for the day are swimming and having a bath or shower.
- At the end of the 24 hours you will return to TMC to have the machine and cuff removed. The machine will have stored all your readings and these will then be analyzed.