JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Automatic blood pressure measure- ment. Pregnant woman using an ambulatory blood pressure monitor at home. This 24 hour recording device automatically measures blood pressure (BP) at 30 minute intervals. Traditional methods rely on the doctor measuring BP. In some patients, however, the presence of a doctor leads to a sudden raised BP (known as the "white coat effect"). To prevent misdiagnosis, the ambulatory BP monitor records blood pressure while a person goes about their normal life. In this way "false hypertensives" can be diagnosed. It is estimated that with this device up to a third of patients may be spared unnecessary BP drug treatment.
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