The accurate measurement of blood pressure (BP) is essential for the diagnosis and management of hypertension. This article provides an updated American Heart Association scientific statement on BP measurement in humans. In the office setting, many oscillometric devices have been validated that allow accurate BP measurement while reducing human errors associated with the auscultatory approach. Fully automated oscillometric devices capable of taking multiple readings even without an observer being present may provide a more accurate measurement of BP than auscultation. Studies have shown substantial differences in BP when measured outside versus in the office setting. Ambulatory BP monitoring is considered the reference standard for out-of-office BP assessment, with home BP monitoring being an alternative when ambulatory BP monitoring is not available or tolerated. Compared with their counterparts with sustained normotension (ie, nonhypertensive BP levels in and outside the office setting), it is unclear whether adults with white-coat hypertension (ie, hypertensive BP levels in the office but not outside the office) have increased cardiovascular disease risk, whereas those with masked hypertension (ie, hypertensive BP levels outside the office but not in the office) are at substantially increased risk. In addition, high nighttime BP on ambulatory BP monitoring is associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk. Both oscillometric and auscultatory methods are considered acceptable for measuring BP in children and adolescents. Regardless of the method used to measure BP, initial and ongoing training of technicians and healthcare providers and the use of validated and calibrated devices are critical for obtaining accurate BP measurements.
Keywords: AHA Scientific Statements; blood pressure; hypertension; monitoring, ambulatory.