There are three commonly used methods for measuring blood pressure for clinical purposes: clinic readings, self-monitoring by the patient at home, and 24-hour ambulatory readings. Self-monitoring is generally carried out using electronic devices that work on the oscillometric technique.
Although standard validation protocols exist, many devices on the market have not been tested for accuracy. Such devices can record blood pressure from the upper arm, wrist, or finger, but the arm is preferred. Twenty-four-hour ambulatory monitoring is the best predictor of cardiovascular risk in the individual patient and is the only technique that can describe the diurnal rhythm of blood pressure accurately. Ambulatory monitoring is mainly used for diagnosing hypertension, whereas self-monitoring is used for following the response to treatment.