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Yetman Robert J.; Portman, Ronald J.
Blood Pressure Monitoring: June-August 1999


Prolonged hypertension in adults has been associated with end-organ damage, in addition to increased morbidity and mortality. Accurate measurement of blood pressure in pediatric and adult patients is imperative for the appropriate diagnosis of hypertension, so that measures may be instituted to prevent these adverse sequelae. Although intermittent office measurement of blood pressure is practiced in most parts of the world, the technique is fraught with problems. Errors during the actual measurement and difficulties in interpretation of the data are well-studied challenges associated with intermittent blood pressure measurements that have been well studied. Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring offers several advantages over intermittent measurement: blood pressure measurements are available over a prolonged period of time (including the sleep period), measurements are not as dependent on observer biases as are intermittent measurements, and in adults the data appear to correlate well to measures of end-organ damage. In children, the ambulatory blood pressure monitor is well tolerated and accurate. This new technology may offer pediatric specialists the opportunity to identify more accurately the child with increased blood pressure, so that preventive measures can be instituted to reduce the well-known morbidity and mortality associated with hypertension.


To review the technical aspects of blood pressure measurement in children, with special attention to the emerging field of ambulatory blood pressure monitoring and its potential use in children.

Copyright © 1999 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.