High Blood Pressure – Using an Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitor
If you are having any symptoms or have any questions, please call 811 to speak with a registered nurse 24 hours a day.
What is an ambulatory blood pressure monitor?
An ambulatory blood pressure monitor is a small machine, about the size of a portable radio. You wear it on a belt. The blood pressure cuff on the monitor can be worn under your clothes without anyone seeing it.
This machine records and lets your healthcare provider find out what your blood pressure was every 15 to 30 minutes of a normal day. The information collected by this machine can help you and your healthcare provider see if your blood pressure treatment is working.
Your healthcare provider may want you to use an ambulatory blood pressure monitor for one or more of the following reasons:
- If you have “borderline” high blood pressure
- If you and your healthcare provider can’t keep your blood pressure under control
- If you have blood pressure problems caused by your other medicines
- If you have changed your medicine
- If you are pregnant and have high blood pressure
- If you have fainting spells
The monitor may help your healthcare provider find out if you are a person who only has high blood pressure when you are at the healthcare provider’s office. This is called “white-coat hypertension.” If you have this kind of hypertension, you may not need to take medicine.
What happens when I wear the monitor?
The small blood pressure cuff that is connected to the monitor will automatically check your blood pressure about every 30 minutes, even while you are sleeping. You also will be asked to keep a diary of your day’s activities, so your healthcare provider will know when you were active and when you were resting. Some people feel a little sore from the frequent pressure checks. Some people get a rash, but it usually goes away without treatment.
After 24 hours of monitoring, you will take the machine and your diary to the healthcare provider’s office. The blood pressure information is transferred from the monitor to a computer. The computer helps the healthcare provider make sense of the information. Your healthcare provider will review the information with you and decide if your treatment program is working or if you need to make changes.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Park Lane – Mall Level 3 5657 Spring Garden Road, Box 245 Halifax, NS B3J 3R4
Telephone (902) 423-7530 Toll free 1-800-423-4432 Fax (902) 492-1464
Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation Website at:
Hypertension Canada at: