Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) is being used increasingly in both clinical practice and hypertension research. Although there are many guidelines that emphasize the indications for ABPM, there is no comprehensive guideline dealing with all aspects of the technique. It was agreed at a consensus meeting on ABPM in Milan in 2011 that the 34 attendees should prepare a comprehensive position paper on the scientific evidence for ABPM.
This position paper considers the historical background, the advantages and limitations of ABPM, the threshold levels for practice, and the cost–effectiveness of the technique. It examines the need for selecting an appropriate device, the accuracy of devices, the additional information and indices that ABPM devices may provide, and the software requirements.
At a practical level, the paper details the requirements for using ABPM in clinical practice, editing considerations, the number of measurements required, and the circumstances, such as obesity and arrhythmias, when particular care needs to be taken when using ABPM.
The clinical indications for ABPM, among which white-coat phenomena, masked hypertension, and nocturnal hypertension appear to be prominent, are outlined in detail along with special considerations that apply in certain clinical circumstances, such as childhood, the elderly and pregnancy, and in cardiovascular illness, examples being stroke and chronic renal disease, and the place of home measurement of blood pressure in relation to ABPM is appraised.
The role of ABPM in research circumstances, such as pharmacological trials and in the prediction of outcome in epidemiological studies is examined and finally the implementation of ABPM in practice is considered in relation to the issue of reimbursement in different countries, the provision of the technique by primary care practices, hospital clinics and pharmacies, and the growing role of registries of ABPM in many countries.