What is an Ambulatory Blood Pressure (ABP) Monitor?

An ambulatory blood pressure monitor (ABP) will take a patient’s blood pressure reading while they continue with their activities of daily living over a 24-hour period. Accumulating several blood pressure readings throughout a typical day instead of at a clinic or hospital, as is usually the case, allows for a more accurate diagnosis of a person’s true blood pressure that is not influenced by outside events. The use of non-invasive ambulatory blood pressure monitors can improve the assessment and care that individuals who suffer from cardiovascular diseases will receive, especially those suffering from high blood pressure (hypertension).

An ambulatory blood pressure monitor is a small device, which is connected to a blood pressure cuff (see image below) similar to the one used by your physician. It is worn beneath your clothing.

The ambulatory blood pressure (ABP) monitor is pre-programmed to take your blood pressure every 30-60 minutes throughout a 24-hour period. The information collected by the ambulatory blood pressure monitor will help your doctor determine if your current blood pressure treatment is working, or if you have high blood pressure.

Why Do I Need the Ambulatory Blood Pressure (ABP) Monitor?

There are a variety of reasons your physician ordered an ABP monitor:

  • to determine if you truly have high blood pressure

  • if your blood pressure does not stay within the recommended range

  • to determine if your current medications are controlling your blood pressure effectively

  • having blood pressure problems caused by other medications or for other unknown reasons

  • experiencing blood pressure abnormalities during pregnancy

What Happens When I Wear the Ambulatory Blood Pressure (ABP) Monitor?

The blood pressure cuff that is connected to the ambulatory blood pressure (ABP) monitor will automatically inflate to record your blood pressure every 30 minutes during the day and every hour while you are sleeping.

At the end of the 24 hour period, you will return the ABP and the diary you were given, to our office. The information is transferred from your ambulatory blood pressure (ABP) monitor to a computer and a report is generated for your physician.

The blood pressure report will be sent to your doctor promptly, who will review the information and decide if your current treatment regime is working or if changes are necessary.

The cost to use an ambulatory blood pressure monitor is not currently covered by OHIP, therefore a physician’s referral is not required. However, selected extended health care plans cover the cost for the test or may be submitted for income tax.

Please call NovaMed if you have any questions or require further explanation regarding ambulatory blood pressure monitors.