Updated: Jan 19
One of the most common ways to monitor a patient's blood pressure is through a visit to the general practitioner (GP). This type of monitoring, however, only occurs once a day and doesn’t provide information on how high or low patient blood pressure may be between visits. Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring (ABPM), on the other hand, provides all those details and more, by monitoring blood pressure in regular intervals (usually every 20-30 minutes), all day long.
ABPM: Who needs it?
ABPM is usually recommended to patients diagnosed with high blood pressure (hypertension) to see how well their blood pressure medication is working and/or if a patient has something called ‘white coat’ hypertension – when blood pressure measures high at a regular doctor’s office visit but is normal at other times.
How is ABPM traditionally performed?
ABPM commonly has two components. In the first component, the patient is traditionally asked to wear a special device called an ambulatory blood pressure monitor for 24 hours either on a belt or shoulder strap. It usually consists of an inflatable cuff, and a recording device. The cuff is inflated periodically to measure patient systolic and diastolic blood pressures, while the recording device keeps track of the readings. In the second component of ABPM, the patient is asked to keep a diary of their activities during the day in parallel to the blood pressure monitoring in order to help the doctor to interpret the test results.
The unique data provided by 24-hour ABPM
The unique data provided by 24-hour ABPM typically includes 24-hour average blood pressure, daytime, and nighttime average blood pressure (awake/asleep). Last, but not least, ABPM also measures Nocturnal Blood Pressure Dipping; a drop of at least 15% of the daytime values during sleep. Failure of BP to dip at night may indicate a risk for cardiovascular issues.
The main benefits of Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring
The main benefits of Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring (ABPM) are:
A more accurate way to measure blood pressure than traditional in-office methods
Ability to capture a person's blood pressure readings over a period of time, providing a more complete picture of their true blood pressure
The main disadvantages of Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring
There are several disadvantages of traditional Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring (ABPM), which include:
The device can be bulky and uncomfortable to wear for extended periods of time affecting patients (and their spouse’s’) sleep, causing days off work due to embarrassment of using the device in the workplace, in addition to awareness of wearing the device affecting measurement values.
The readings may not be as accurate as those taken by a traditional blood pressure cuff due to the potential for movement artifacts.
The cost of the device and associated supplies can be prohibitive for some patients.
There is a risk of skin irritation or bruising at the site where the device is worn.
ABPM: costs and availability
ABPM is not always readily available. It also may not be covered by insurance, and as such, it can be expensive and as a result, inaccessible to some patients. The good news is that there are some new devices on the market that make ABPM more accessible and affordable.
Biobeat’s Cuffless ABPM Kit
As mentioned above, ABPM is traditionally carried out by cuff-based devices that inflate around the arm every 20-30 minutes to record BP values. One can only imagine how this could influence and disrupt patient sleep and daily routine.
Differing from traditional methods in that it is cuffless, Biobeat’s wireless, non-invasive, medical-grade chest-worn device enables blood pressure monitoring by automatically capturing critical patient health data throughout the day. Easy and intuitive to use and apply, it is designed to be set up at patients' homes or at the clinic, without the need for the presence of medical personnel. Since the patient is unaware of the measurements being taken via Biobeat’s optical sensor, this eliminates the "white coat" effect seen with cuff-based devices.
So how does Biobeat ABPM work?
The kit is delivered directly to the patient’s home and includes a user-friendly tutorial viewable via the Biobeat App (A downloaded QR code will be provided in the kit).
In the initiation of the session, a run-down clock will indicate the time left for the completion of the test. Upon completion, the patient simply discards the disposable kit, with no need to return the device back to the clinic.
Seconds later, an automatically generated completed and fully analyzed report will appear on the Biobeat web platform ready for the General Practitioner to view and assess.
Beyond just ABPM…
Biobeat’s revolutionary ABPM device provides more than just blood pressure values. It records the Pulse Rate, Mean Arterial Pressure, Cardiac Output, and Systemic Vascular Resistance. This information can prove critical to the practitioner, providing clear and accurate clinical insights of the root cause of hypertension, in addition to assisting in accurate adjustment of medications, leading to improved outcomes.
Who will pay for it?
Today, the US Government is in full understanding of the far-reaching costs of undetected, untreated high blood pressure. As a result, they have recently launched a campaign to pay for patients to get health care services at home, provided that the patient meets certain eligibility criteria. Patients that are homebound, certified by a physician, with a blood pressure problem and under an existing plan of care, can now enjoy all of these benefits, which are mutually valuable for both the patient and the healthcare system, increasing patient quality of life and potentially saving millions of cases of preventable diseases resulting from untreated hypertension.
ABPM: Further reading
There are a number of different sources you can go to in order to learn more about ABPM and how it can be used to determine your blood pressure. The American Heart Association (AHA) provides detailed information on their website about how ABPM works and what the benefits are of using this method. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also has a section on their website dedicated to high blood pressure, which includes information on ABPM. In addition, there are many peer-reviewed articles published in medical journals that discuss the use of ABPM in more detail.
To find out more about how Biobeat’s cuffless ABPM monitors can help improve the quality of life of your patients, and help you manage blood pressure more actively and conveniently, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org