This purpose of this article is to review the current recommendations for ambulatory blood pressure measurement (ABPM) and the use of ABPM in assessing treatment. We review current international guidelines and undertake a critical review of evidence supporting the clinical use of ABPM in effectively managing antihypertensive drug treatment. Current guidelines emphasize the diagnostic superiority of ABPM, mainly from the ability of the technique to identify sustained hypertension by allowing for the exclusion of white-coat hypertension and by demonstrating the presence of masked hypertension. ABPM also offers diagnostic insights into nocturnal patterns of blood pressure, such as dipping and nondipping, reverse dipping, and excessive dipping, and the presence of nocturnal hypertension; although less attention is given to the nocturnal behavior of blood pressure in clinical practice, the nocturnal patterns of blood pressure have particular relevance in assessing the response to blood pressure-lowering medication. Surprisingly, although the current guidelines give detailed recommendations on the diagnostic potential and use of ABPM, there are scant recommendations on the benefits and application of the technique for the initiation of blood pressure-lowering therapy in clinical practice and virtually no recommendations on how it might be used to assess the efficacy of drug treatment. In view of a deficiency in the literature on the role of ABPM in assess the efficacy of drug treatment, we put forward proposals to correct this deficiency and guide the prescribing physician on the most appropriate drug administration and dosage over time.
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