At-home blood-pressure monitoring could reduce hypertension hospital visits for expecting mothers

Home blood-pressure monitoring (HBPM) could reduce hospital visits in pregnant patients with hypertension, according to a study published in Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology.

While the majority of pregnant women with chronic or gestational hypertension do not develop preeclampsia, HBPM has the potential to provide an accurate and effective avenue to monitoring a patient’s hypertension while also reducing the number of hospital visits. In this study, researchers evaluated the feasibility in utilizing HBPM compared to traditional frequent outpatient monitoring.

Some 166 pregnant women with chronic hypertension, gestational hypertension or high risk of developing pre-eclampsia were enrolled in the study from St George's Hospital, University of London. The intervention group contained 108 women who were taught how to measure and record their blood pressure using an at-home machine while attending assessments every one to two weeks. The control group, which contained 58 women, followed traditional care protocol.

Results showed the HBPM group had significantly fewer outpatient attendances per patients and had shorter durations of hospital visits. Additionally, there were no adverse events shown in maternal, fetal or neonatal outcomes in both groups.

"It is time to use existing technology in order to improve the way we look after pregnant women. Supported by both quantitative and qualitative research data, home monitoring of hypertension in pregnancy has proven very popular and is likely to be safe and cost saving," said senior author Prof. Asma Khalil, of St. George's University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, in London. "It is important to acknowledge that more studies are needed to establish safety for rare pregnancy complications and various aspects of its implementation in different healthcare settings."