For people with high blood pressure, home blood pressure monitoring is an essential. Even the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends recording their blood pressure at home, as this does not only reveal a trend in one’s blood pressure levels but also helps their doctors to find out whether or not the treatments are working. Although convenient, home monitoring still doesn’t mean you should stop seeing your doctor regularly.
While most of us are familiar with home blood pressure monitoring, also known as a non-invasive blood pressure monitoring, a lot of us only have little idea on the invasive approach of blood pressure measurement, as this is not often used in many cases.
Here is what you need to know about the two methods of blood pressure monitoring.
Understanding blood pressure readings
When measuring blood pressure, it is expressed with two numbers like a fraction, the top number or systolic and the bottom one called diastolic. Systolic expresses the amount of pressure in the arteries when the heart muscles contract. On the other hand, diastolic pressure refers to the blood pressure in the heart muscle in between beats.
A normal reading shows a systolic pressure that’s within 90 and 120 and a diastolic pressure between 60 and 80. According to the AHA, a blood pressure within these ranges are considered normal. If you are within the normal range, medical intervention may not be needed. However, readings beyond these ranges may be considered high blood pressure and needs to be controlled.
Blood pressure monitoring at home
The non-invasive approach to blood pressure measurement is used not only in homes but in most clinical settings as well. A more familiar method, non-invasive blood pressure measurement involves the use of a pressure cuff and manually listening to Korotkoff sounds to determine the systemic arterial blood pressure.
While it is traditionally done by manually inflating and deflating the cuff, many patients and medical facilities already utilize digital blood pressure monitors, which is more convenient especially during self-measurements.
Home monitoring may be especially recommended to anyone diagnosed with hypertension, pregnant women with blood pressure problems, and people at high risk for hypertension needing closer monitoring. However, the non-invasive approach may not provide 100% accurate results, as they vary according to many different factors, including the placement, size, and position of cuff as well as the position of the patient, among others.
Invasive blood pressure measurement
For patients who need very close supervision, the invasive blood pressure (IBP) monitoring approach may be required. In this method, arterial pressure is directly measured by inserting a cannula needle in an artery, may it be radial, brachial, femoral, or dorsalis pedis.
The said cannula is then connected to a sterile system filled with fluid, which is attached through IBP adapter cables to an electronic patient monitor. Through the use of this system, doctors can constantly monitor the patient’s blood pressure beat by beat, which is expressed in a waveform, a graph indicating pressure against time.
Usually, IBP monitoring is intended for critically ill patients whose blood pressure show rapid variations, such as those admitted in the ICU and in operating room applications. Although results are more accurate, patients under invasive arterial monitoring need to be closely monitored at all times, as there is a risk for severe bleeding once the line is disconnected.
A person’s blood pressure significantly reveals a lot about a person’s health, which is why monitoring one’s blood pressure levels every now and then is helpful practice for everyone, especially to those at risk. Consult with your doctor how to properly measure and monitor blood pressure to acquire the most accurate results possible and to ultimately determine how you can change your health for the better.