Blood pressure measurement in research and in clinical practice: Recent evidence

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Purpose of review: For over a century the technique of blood pressure measurement developed by Riva-Rocci and Korotkoff has provided most of the data on hypertension diagnosis and treatment. Its limitations, however, are becoming increasingly evident and therefore alternative solutions are under investigation. This paper is intended to provide an overview of important recent progress in this field, and to highlight future perspectives. Recent findings: A major development in blood pressure measurement is the technical improvement of electronic manometers for use either in the clinic (with the auscultatory approach, as an alternative to use of mercury columns), or in automated oscillometric devices yielding blood pressure measurements devoid of observer-dependency, and allowing long-term blood pressure monitoring. In the latter case, blood pressure measurement is made possible in settings other than the physician's office, either through ambulatory blood pressure monitoring or through serf blood pressure measurement at home. These methods are growing in clinical importance, but further studies are needed to define their indications more precisely in the clinical evaluation of hypertensive patients. Recently, important steps towards better standards of blood pressure measurement have been taken, as summarized in the guidelines jointly issued by the European Society of Hypertension (ESH) and the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), in the 7th Joint National Committee Report and (in even more detail) in the Blood Pressure Measurement Guidelines published by the ESH Working Group on Blood Pressure Monitoring. Summary: Blood pressure measurement is a rapidly developing field, the importance of which is increasingly acknowledged in the light of the growing awareness of the impact of hypertension on public health. Despite remarkable progress, many methodological issues still remain to be properly addressed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-357
Number of pages15
JournalCurrent Opinion in Nephrology and Hypertension
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2004


  • Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring
  • Arterial hypertension
  • Blood pressure variability
  • Home blood pressure
  • Office blood pressure measurement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Nephrology


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