Clinical medicine & research vol:3 issue:1 pages:19-26
To be suitable for the management of hypertension, self-measurement of blood pressure (BP) at home should follow international recommendations.The use of accurate and validated measuring devices is an important prerequisite. Upper arm BP monitors are the first choice, while wrist and finger devices cannot be recommended. Measurements should, preferentially, be downloaded from the memory of a device or printed. Reference values have been proposed, but were mostly based on cross-sectional observations and have not yet been widely validated by prospective outcome studies. Currently, levels of home BP of <135 mm Hg systolic and 85 mm Hg diastolic are usually considered normal. Home BP measurement is sometimes recommended as an alternative to ambulatory BP monitoring to diagnose white-coat hypertension.However, home BP measurement cannot replace ambulatory BP monitoring in the diagnosis of hypertension (white-coat), but both techniques have complementary roles. The appropriateness of home BP measurement to guide antihypertensive treatment has only been tested in one large-scale randomized trial: the THOP (Treatment of Hypertension Based on Home or Office Blood Pressure) trial. The THOP trial showed that antihypertensive treatment based on home instead of office BP led to less intensive drug treatment, but also to less BP control with no differences in general wellbeing and left ventricular mass. Home BP monitoring also contributed to the identification of patients with white-coat hypertension. On balance, most evidence supports the view that office BP measurement remains the key in the diagnosis and treatment of hypertension. Treatment can be started without confirmation of elevated office BP in patients with high office BP and target organ damage, or a high cardiovascular risk profile. In patients with raised office BP but without target organ damage (white-coat hypertension), or with normal office BP but unexplained target organ damage (masked hypertension), ambulatory or home BP monitoring or both must be used to confirm the diagnosis. Few longitudinal studies have addressed the long-term prognostic meaning of home BP measurement. Until more prospective data become available, management of hypertension exclusively based on self-measurement of BP at home cannot be recommended.