Background: Clinical guidelines recommend that adults with hypertension self-monitor their blood pressure (BP).
Purpose: To summarize evidence about the effectiveness of self-measured blood pressure (SMBP) monitoring in adults with hypertension.
Data sources: MEDLINE (inception to 8 February 2013) and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials and Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (fourth quarter 2012).
Study selection: 52 prospective comparative studies of SMBP monitoring with or without additional support versus usual care or an alternative SMBP monitoring intervention in persons with hypertension.
Data extraction: Data on population, interventions, BP, other outcomes, and study method were extracted. Random-effects model meta-analyses were done.
Data synthesis: For SMBP monitoring alone versus usual care (26 comparisons), moderate-strength evidence supports a lower BP with SMBP monitoring at 6 months (summary net difference, -3.9 mm Hg and -2.4 mm Hg for systolic BP and diastolic BP) but not at 12 months. For SMBP monitoring plus additional support versus usual care (25 comparisons), high-strength evidence supports a lower BP with use of SMBP monitoring, ranging from -3.4 to -8.9 mm Hg for systolic BP and from -1.9 to -4.4 mm Hg for diastolic BP, at 12 months in good-quality studies. For SMBP monitoring plus additional support versus SMBP monitoring alone or with less intense additional support (13 comparisons), low-strength evidence fails to support a difference. Across all comparisons, evidence for clinical outcomes is insufficient. For other surrogate or intermediate outcomes, low-strength evidence fails to show differences.
Limitation: Clinical heterogeneity in protocols for SMBP monitoring, additional support, BP targets, and management; follow-up of 1 year or less in most studies, with sparse clinical outcome data.
Conclusion: Self-measured BP monitoring with or without additional support lowers BP compared with usual care, but the BP effect beyond 12 months and long-term benefits remain uncertain. Additional support enhances the BP-lowering effect.
Primary funding source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.