News Release

May 19, 2008

Contact: Chris DeFrancesco, 860-679-3914

Blood Pressure Check in Doctor’s Office Not Enough

UConn Hypertension Expert Co-authors Official Position Paper

FARMINGTON, CONN. – Blood pressure readings should be taken both in and outside of the clinical environment, says William B. White, M.D., professor of medicine and hypertension expert at the University of Connecticut Health Center.

“There is increasing evidence that the traditional office blood pressure measurement procedure may yield inadequate or misleading estimates of a patient’s true BP status,” White, chief of the Hypertension and Clinical Pharmacology Division at UConn’s Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center, writes in a position paper published in the Journal of the American Society of Hypertension.

“Blood pressure rates change throughout the day and night, so taking a few readings during an office visit often doesn’t capture the truth about blood pressure behavior,” White says. “Technique also may skew the results, as does the so-called ‘white coat effect’—when blood pressure is up because the patient is nervous in the doctor’s office—and what we call the ‘masked effect,’ which is a decrease in blood pressure in the medical care environment.”

In their American Society of Hypertension position paper, White and Thomas G. Pickering, M.D., D.Phil., from Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City recommend supplementing in-office blood pressure measurements with out-of-office techniques such as self-monitoring or ambulatory blood pressure monitoring. Self-monitoring devices enable patients to take their readings at home at several points throughout the day. Ambulatory recording involves the wearing of a monitor cuff on the upper arm for a 24-hour period, with a microchip recording blood pressure readings.

“Done properly, these methods increase the number of readings used to calculate average blood pressure, and therefore give much better estimates, yielding a better prediction of risk than the office measurement alone,” White says.

A link to the abstract of the study is available at

More information about the Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center is available at

The American Society of Hypertension is the largest U.S. organization dedicated exclusively to hypertension and related cardiovascular disease.

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