|J. Antonio G. Lopez, MD, FASH
What you need to know!
Your doctor has requested that you undergo Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring (ABPM). ABPM may be done to get a more accurate measurement of your average blood pressure, or because you have different readings in the doctor’s office than at home, or for other reasons.
This test has been available for years, and many thousands of patients have undergone this test without difficulty.
- This is a safe and painless test.
- You will wear a portable blood pressure monitor on your arm for 24 hours.
- For your visit, please wear a shirt or blouse with loose fitting sleeves.
How does the test work?
The blood pressure cuff will be placed on your upper arm under your clothing, directly against the skin. The cuff connects with a rubber tube to the monitor. This is a small box about 3 by 4 inches in size that can be worn over your shoulder with a strap, attached to your belt, or carried in a large pocket in your clothes. You will wear the cuff for approximately 24 hours.
What do I do at night? Can I bathe with the cuff on?
At night the cuff is kept on, and the monitor is placed next to you in your bed or under your pillow. You will not be able to take a bath or shower while wearing the cuff and you should not plan to do heavy exercise (that is, exercise to the point where you sweat a lot). Otherwise, you should go about your usual daily activities, including work, household tasks, and so on.
The monitor will take a reading every 20 minutes during the day, and every hour at night. While a reading is being taken, the cuff will inflate and squeeze your arm firmly, just as the blood pressure cuffs used in the office or in stores do. While the cuff is inflating and deflating, it is best to try to avoid moving your arm, as this may interfere with the reading. If the monitor has trouble getting a reading, it may re-inflate in a minute or so to try a second time.
What if I need to remove the cuff?
While the cuff is comfortable some patients want to remove it before their 24 hour study is up, we strongly urge you to leave the cuff on for the most accurate results. If for some reason you must remove the cuff, you can remove it by peeling cuff off of your arm. Do not press any of the buttons on the monitor itself. However, if at any time during the during the monitoring period you feel chest discomfort, heart pounding or skipping beats, you can press the blue button on the monitor to check a blood pressure reading. When you return the next day the nurse or medical assistant will remove the cuff and the study is over.
If you have any questions regarding this test, please call the Saint Alphonsus Medical Group Heart Care, Hypertension Consultation Service, Medical Director, J. Antonio G. Lopez, MD, FASH at 208-367-8880.