AMBULATORY BLOOD PRESSURE MONITOR
What is an AMBULATORY BLOOD PRESSURE MONITOR?
A small digital blood pressure machine that is fitted for 24 hours, to measure your blood pressure as you go about your normal daily activities, including sleep and rest periods. 24-hour blood pressure readings are more reliable than a one-off reading. The test enables your doctor to get a clear understanding of how your blood pressure changes over the course of a day and night.
Why do I need to have an ambulatory blood pressure monitor?
Your doctor may request this test for a number of reasons:
- to find out if your blood pressure readings in the clinic are much higher than they are away from the clinic (called “white coat hypertension”)
- to see how effective your medicines are in controlling your blood pressure throughout the day/night
- to find out what your blood pressure is doing if you have unexplained symptoms, such as feeling weak or light-headed (hypotensive)
A small portable monitor worn on the body is connected to a standard cuff on the upper arm. The machine is programmed to take your blood pressure at set intervals; for example, every 60 minutes for 24 hours.
When complete, the device is linked to a computer which downloads the data and prepares a report of your blood pressure recordings for the 24-hour period.
You will be asked to fill out a diary of your activities and medications taken (dosages and times) in the 24-hour period so that the blood pressure changes can be linked to your active or resting state.
Is there any preparation required for this test?
There is no special preparation required. Wear a loose sleeved top to accommodate the cuff. As the device cannot get wet, you will need to coordinate bathing before or after wearing your device.
Do I take my medications on the day of the test?
Yes, take all your medications as usual, including blood pressure medications, before and during the 24-hour test period.
Where do I go to have the test?
The monitor can be fitted by Peninsula Heart Centre at the following sites:
- Frankston Suite 11, Peninsula Private Hospital, 525 McClelland Drive
- Mornington Suite 7, Beleura Private Hospital, 925 Nepean Highway
- Rosebud Suite 8, Peninsula Medical Suites, 1533 Pt Nepean Road
At the end of the 24-hour period, you will need to remove the monitor and cuff and return the machine and diary to the clinic.
What do I need to bring?
Please bring your personal information for our medical records (Medicare/DVA card/pension/HCC /emergency contact person details) and the Referral Letter from your doctor (if not already sent).
You will be asked to pay an out of pocket fee as there is no Medicare rebate for this test
What do I wear?
Wear a loose-fitting garment that allows easy access to your upper arm, e.g., a button down blouse or a shirt that is loose on the arms or short-sleeved.
How much will it cost?
This test is not covered by Medicare and so will attract a small fee.
What happens during the test?
The blood pressure cuff is fitted around the upper arm so that the arrow lies directly over the pulse on your arm. It is fastened with a Velcro fastener and turned on. 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. You will need to keep the monitor on throughout the night – you can put the machine under the pillow or on the bed while you sleep. It is important to make sure that the tube to the machine is not twisted or bent.
The digital machine takes your blood pressure automatically (at set times during the day) by inflating the cuff around your arm and then slowly releasing the pressure. Each time the cuff is about to inflate, you will hear a warning beep. When this happens, you should sit down, if possible, keep the cuff at the same level as your heart, and keep your arm steady. You should record what you were doing at the time before the reading was taken – as well as the time you go to bed, the time you get up, when you take your medications, and any symptoms (e.g., dizziness, shortness of breath).
How long does the test take?
Allow 30 minutes for your appointment to be fitted with the monitor. You will be asked to remove the monitor and cuff yourself and return the monitor to Peninsula Heart Centre the following day for evaluation. Allow 15 minutes when you return to the clinic the following day.
What are the risks?
There are no known risks associated with wearing an ambulatory blood pressure monitor.
When will my results be available?
The monitor recordings will be analysed in 1 or 2 business days and a report sent to your referring doctor, with a copy placed in your medical history.
The cardiologist will provide a comprehensive report with recommendations for blood pressure management if required. Your referring doctor will discuss your results at your next appointment.