Cambridge Cardiac Care Centre

Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitor

Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitor

A long name for a simple test.

The Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitor, commonly referred to as the
ABPM, is a mobile, wearable device that continually tracks your blood pressure over an extended period of time, usually a day. The monitor is lightweight and relatively convenient to wear. This is a painless, non-invasive test to determine how your blood pressure naturally responds to regular, daily activities and how it changes at night when you sleep. As such, you will be fitted with the device and then sent on your way, wearing it out of the office and for the duration of the monitoring period. Do not restrict your activities in any way, do not remove the device, and do not get it wet. Please review further instructions below before your appointment.

IMPORTANT! Instructions BEFORE your appointment

In the interest of your appointment going smoothly and ensuring that the monitor is properly fitted for accurate results, please strictly follow these instructions.

Pre-Appointment Instructions

  1. Bathe or shower before your ABPM appointment since you will not be able to do so afterward while you wear the monitor for the day. Remember, the device MUST NOT get wet.
  2. Do not apply lotion or oil to your arms before the appointment since this can interfere with placement and retention of the blood pressure cuff.
  3. Wear loose clothing and a short-sleeved shirt so that the blood pressure cuff and monitor belt can be easily fitted for maximum comfort.
  4. Bring a list of all the medications and supplements you take.

Our Cardiovascular Technologist Team

Our highly trained CVT team is made up of some of the region’s most accomplished Cardiovascular Technologists, skilled in ECG, holter monitoring, stress testing, ambulatory blood pressure monitoring and spectrometry testing. With an emphasis on skill-building and a commitment to the pursuit of scientific excellence, our Cardiovascular Technologists (CVT) are the eyes and ears of the clinic, providing thorough and reliable clinical reports that are the underpinning of everything we do.

What to expect when wearing the monitor.

The ambulatory blood pressure monitor is a lightweight device, built to be as convenient as possible for the patient to wear for an extended period of time. The monitor is quite small and can be worn discreetly under a loose shirt. The most noticeable aspect of the test is the blood pressure cuff on the arm that will automatically expand and squeeze the arm slightly every half hour during the daytime and every hour at night (between 11:00 pm and 6:00 am). The pressure cuff action feels much the same as having your blood pressure taken at your physician's office.

Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitor

IMPORTANT Instructions while you are wearing the monitor.

You’ve got the device. Now what?

Your technologist will review the following information with you when you arrive. For added assurance, however, please read these instructions over thoroughly while you have the device on at home.

  1. Record all the symptoms that you experience in the AMBP Diary provided by the technologist. Include things such as dizziness, fainting, chest pain, and irregular heartbeat. Note down the exact time, duration and description of your symptoms.
  2. Record your day’s activities in the AMBP Diary, noting the exact time, duration and description of the activity. Include things like when you exercise, climb stairs, have sex, smoke cigarettes, sleep, get emotionally upset, take medications, or engage in other notable activities. The accuracy and usefulness of this test depend on how carefully you record your symptoms and activities and the times they occurred.
  3. The recording device must not get wet. Do not bathe, shower or swim.
  4. When sleeping, keep the monitor carefully positioned at your side or on a night table beside your bed so that the tubes remain plugged in securely to the recording device. The blood pressure cuff MUST remain on your arm throughout the night. Accurately getting night time readings is important as it can help diagnose a number of conditions and abnormalities of blood pressure that only occur at night. This may also help give clues to sleep disorders like sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome.
  5. If the monitor does not appear to be recording and/or the blood pressure cuff is failing to inflate, call 519-624-3511 for assistance.
  6. Do not use an electric blanket, electric shaver, a heating device for a waterbed or have an X-ray done while wearing the monitor. Signals from these types of electronic equipment may interfere with the recording.
  7. The technologist will have given you a return time to have the monitor removed. You must return at the assigned time so that the data in the monitor can be downloaded appropriately.

I check my BP at home and my physician checks it regularly in the office.

So, why do I need this test?

Having your blood pressure checked at your physician's office is important since it gives us a snapshot of what is happening in the moment. However, it may not be enough to fully and accurately diagnose high blood pressure or, for that matter, the opposite, radically low blood pressure--potentially a crucial warning sign. Blood pressure usually varies throughout the day and night, in different environments and in different situations. For example, some people exhibit “white coat syndrome” in which their blood pressure is erroneously high in a doctor’s office but is otherwise fine throughout the day. Alternatively, some people have the reverse situation in which their blood pressure is high at home but is within normal range at the doctor’s office. Yet others may exhibit a concerning blood pressure reading while they are asleep only. Each of these are caused by different medical conditions with different implications and treatments. Since the ambulatory blood pressure monitor (ABPM) is worn day and night over 24-hours, it is the most accurate blood pressure diagnostic test available.

How long will the appointment take?

The ABPM test requires two appointments. The first is to affix the monitor, test it and provide the patient with appropriate instructions. This appointment takes about 30 minutes. The technologist will give you a date and time for your second appointment to remove the device and download the data onto the computer for analysis. As well, the technologist will review your symptoms and activities diary to make sure that everything is in order. This second appointment also takes approximately 30 minutes.

Wait Times

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Cardiac Test Routine Test Wait Time Urgent Test Wait Time
ABPM 2 weeks Same day
ECG 24 hours Same day
Echocardiogram 2 weeks 36 hours
Stress Test (Exercise / Treadmill) 2 weeks Same day
Stress Echocardiogram 2 weeks 24 hours
Holter Monitor - 24 Hour 2 weeks 24 hours
Holter Monitor - 48 Hour 2 weeks 24 hours
Holter Monitor – 72 Hour 2 weeks 48 hours
Holter Monitor - 2 Weeks 2 weeks 48 hours
Spirometry 24 hours Same day

The above wait-times indicate the standard benchmarks that Cambridge Cardiac Care strives to meet each and every day. Unforeseen circumstances and Public Health mandates, may effect these wait times. Rest assured that timely access is a driving force at CCC: we will get you in as soon as possible, based on your assessed level of urgency.