24-Hour Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring
A Reference Guide
What is 24-hour Ambulatory Blood
Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring
(ABPM) measures your blood pressure over
the course of a full day (24 hours). You will
wear a blood pressure cuff on your upper
arm that is connected to a monitor. The
monitor records your blood pressure
readings 3 times per hour while awake and 1
time per hour while sleeping.
Why Monitor Blood Pressure for 24
Measuring your blood pressure in your
normal environment and during your usual
daily routines gives your doctor a better idea
of how your blood pressure changes
throughout the day. Some reasons for
ξ White coat hypertension: high blood
pressure in clinic settings (around
medical staff or doctors) with lower
blood pressure outside of clinic.
ξ High blood pressure without a
diagnosis of hypertension: blood
pressure may be high sometimes and
more blood pressure measurements
ξ Hypertension medicine assessment:
to make sure your blood pressure
medicines are working as they
should all day.
ξ Assess symptoms - such as
lightheadedness, dizziness, or
headaches, to check if these are due
to blood pressure.
The Blood Pressure Monitor
The monitor is a small box that connects to
the cuff on your arm. The monitor remains
in a black pouch throughout the day. You
may wear it with a belt to keep it up on your
side and out of the way. During the
measurement, the monitor screen will be
black and will not display any blood
Important Reminders and Tips
ξ When the cuff inflates and you feel
the cuff tightening, stop what you are
doing and remain as still as possible
(without putting yourself at risk).
This allows the cuff to sense your
blood pressure accurately. Extend
your arm, and relax. If you are
walking or standing, remain standing
and drop the arm with the cuff to
ξ Avoid vigorous physical activity,
such as jogging/running, biking
outdoors, lawn mowing, etc, while
wearing the blood pressure monitor.
ξ If the monitor misses a reading, you
will feel the cuff inflate again in 1-2
minutes to try another reading.
ξ When you are ready for bed, remove
the cord from around your neck and
place the monitor by your side. It
should be placed far enough away
so you do not roll on it.
ξ Showering: do not wear the monitor
into the shower/bath. Remove the
cuff from your upper arm and set
aside. Do not disconnect anything or
push any buttons on the monitor.
After your shower, place the cuff
back on your upper arm as described
Putting the Cuff Back On
ξ Make sure the cuff is in the correct
position when on your arm. The
rubber tube should point upward and
in the center of your upper arm.
Check the cuff and place it above the
crease of your arm. Make sure the
rubber tubbing is not pinched or
kinked to allow proper air flow.
ξ You may take the cuff off if it causes
pain or discomfort. Remove the cuff
to rest the arm for 5-10 minutes in
between readings. Place the cuff
back on your arm as directed above.
ξ If the cuff is causing pain and you
want to stop the test you may turn
the monitor off. Hold the circle
button on the lower right of the
monitor as it beeps. A message will
appear “Do you want to switch the
unit off?” Use the arrow buttons to
highlight “yes” and press the circle
button to select. The monitor will
turn off. It cannot be turned back on
to start the test. Once you turn the
monitor off, the test is over.
The activity log is an important part of the
ABPM procedure and should be completed
as instructed by the clinician. List changes
in activity/symptoms throughout your day.
If you are doing the same activity for an
extended time you do not need to write this
over and over, instead write ranges of time.
Record your bedtime and wake time. Also
record if you get up during the night to use
the restroom or for any other reason.
Returning the Monitor
The cuff, monitor, activity log, and belt (if
you were given one) must be returned to the
Preventive Cardiology Clinic. Follow the
instructions given to you by the clinician.
All ABPM equipment must be returned the
next business day. Due to the expense of
this equipment, it must be hand-delivered
back to the Clinic: there is not a mail-back
Upon your return the next day to the
Preventive Cardiology Clinic, a clinician
will remove the monitor, review the activity
log, and discuss any concerns or questions
with you. The clinician will then download
the results from the monitor and prepare a
report for a UW Health Cardiologist to read.
A final report will be sent to your provider
who ordered the test. Your provider will
give you the results. If you have not
received a call within 5-7 business days,
place a call to your provider who ordered the
test to ask about the results.
If you have any questions or concerns while
wearing the ABPM monitor, please call the
Preventive Cardiology Clinic Monday
through Friday between 8:00 AM and 4:30
PM at 608-263-7420.
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 5/2017 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7970