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Blood pressure measurement in the diagnosis and management of hypertension in adults

George Thomas, MD, MPH, FACP, FASN
Marc A Pohl, MD
Section Editor
George L Bakris, MD
Deputy Editors
Daniel J Sullivan, MD, MPH
John P Forman, MD, MSc


Correct measurement and interpretation of the blood pressure (BP) is essential in the diagnosis and management of hypertension. It is essential that BP machines are properly calibrated, appropriate cuff sizes are selected, and, when BP is measured in an office-based setting, personnel are properly trained and the patient is positioned correctly.

BP measurement in the diagnosis and management of hypertension, including the technique required for office-based measurements, will be reviewed here. Detailed descriptions of ambulatory and home-based BP monitoring are presented elsewhere. (See "Ambulatory and home blood pressure monitoring and white coat hypertension in adults".)

An overview of hypertension in adults and discussions pertaining to patient selection for antihypertensive therapy, choice of antihypertensive therapy, and management of older adults with isolated systolic hypertension can be found in other topics. (See "Overview of hypertension in adults" and "Choice of drug therapy in primary (essential) hypertension" and "Treatment of hypertension in older adults, particularly isolated systolic hypertension".)


Selecting a measurement strategy — Blood pressure (BP) can be measured using one of the following three acceptable strategies:

Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM)

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Nov 28, 2017.
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