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Wednesday 26th June 2019

Home blood pressure tests

24th August 2011

New guidelines have been issued over how blood pressure in England and Wales is checked.


The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) says patients thought to have high blood pressure should have the diagnosis confirmed at home using a mobile device that records blood pressure over 24 hours.

The guidance follows findings that up to a quarter of patients may find visiting a GP stressful, leading to misdiagnosis and being given drugs they do not need.

Such a move could save the NHS £10.5m a year.

About 25% of adults in the UK have high blood pressure (blood pressure of 140/90mmHg or more), costing the NHS £1bn a year in drugs.

At present, patients found to have high blood pressure receive a formal diagnosis if the pressure is raised on two subsequent visits to their GP, though it is suspected that many have so-called “white coat” hypertension, raising blood pressure because of the stress of going to see the doctor.

NICE wants doctors in England and Wales to move towards “ambulatory” monitoring of patients at home, using a device that automatically takes blood pressure readings every 30 minutes day and night.

Its guidance coincides with research published in The Lancet.

One of the authors, Professor Richard McManus of the University of Birmingham, said: “This research shows that ambulatory blood pressure monitoring at the time of diagnosis of high blood pressure would allow better targeting of treatment and is cost-saving.”

The British Heart Foundation said the new guidance would refine the way hypertension is tested.


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