Hypertension is the commonest chronic disorder seen in primary care. Its diagnosis is based on several blood pressure measurements in the clinic that are separated in time. Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring is usually used when there is uncertainty in the diagnosis of hypertension. In this systematic review, eligible studies were examined for diagnosis of hypertension in adults of all ages using home and/or clinic blood pressure measurement compared with those made using ambulatory monitoring that clearly defined thresholds to diagnose hypertension. The study demonstrates that when compared with ambulatory monitoring, neither clinic nor home measurements have sufficient sensitivity or specificity to be recommended as a single diagnostic test. It adds that using ambulatory monitoring before the start of lifelong drug treatment might lead to more appropriate targeting of treatment and avoids overdiagnosis of hypertension.

Full article: http://www.bmj.com/content/342/bmj.d3621.full
Summary: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21705406
PMID: 21705406

Title: Relative effectiveness of clinic and home blood pressure monitoring compared with ambulatory blood pressure monitoring in diagnosis of hypertension: systematic review
Authors: J Hodgkinson, J Mant, U Martin, B Guo, F D R Hobbs, J J Deeks et al
Journal Title: BMJ