Ambulatory blood pressure measurement (ABPM), although recommended for the diagnosis and management of hypertension, has limited availability. The objective of this study was to show that if the characteristics of patients attending pharmacies for ABPM are similar to those attending primary care, the technique can be made more widely available to patients through pharmacies. A comparative study using a software program that allowed central collection, analysis and comparison of ABPM data from patients attending primary care and pharmacies for assessment of hypertension in Ireland. ABPM data from 46 978 patients attending primary care were compared with 1698 attending pharmacies between 2007 and 2013. The age, sex and blood pressure characteristics of patients attending primary care and pharmacies were similar. The mean pressures in all categories, except for systolic blood pressure recorded in primary care, were higher in men. The first ABPM measurements recorded in pharmacies were slightly higher than those in primary care (150.8 ± 19.5/88.7 ± 13.7 vs. 149.6 ± 20.7/88.0 ± 14.4 mmHg). More patients attending primary care were normotensive than those attending pharmacies (19.5 vs. 16.4%), whereas more patients attending pharmacies were hypertensive than those attending primary care (62.8 vs. 60.7%), particularly female patients (61.0 vs. 56.4%). White-coat hypertension was similar in patients attending primary care and pharmacies (19.8 vs. 20.8%), but it was more prevalent in men attending pharmacies (22.0 vs. 17.4%) and in women attending primary care (21.9 vs. 19.7%). There were more dippers in pharmacy then primary care ABPMs (84.7 vs. 79.4%). A preference for having ABPM on Fridays and Saturdays was evident in patients attending pharmacies (19.6 vs. 6.6%), whereas there was a preference for early morning recording in primary care (4.1 vs. 1.1%). This study, which is the first to report on ABPM data from the pharmacy setting, shows that the blood pressure characteristics of patients with ABPMs recorded in pharmacies are similar to those recorded in primary care practices. It is feasible, therefore, to perform ABPM in pharmacies, which can be utilized to make ABPM more accessible to the large number of patients in the population with hypertension.
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