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Cardiothoracic Services

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Ambulatory BP Monitoring

Ambulatory blood pressure (BP) monitoring uses a blood pressure cuff similar to the one used by your GP, but over a 24 hour period.

The monitor is a small box attached to the cuff by a rubber tube. We fix the cuff to your arm with Velcro and you put the box in your pocket.

The cuff inflates every 30 minutes during the day and every hour during the night. We can change this, for example if you work night shifts, so please tell us if this is necessary.

The cuff inflates to above most people's blood pressure, and deflates slowly to get a reading.

Most people do not find this painful but it can be uncomfortable at times. To reduce discomfort, relax where possible, and rest the arm with the blood pressure cuff on it at the side of your body.

If you are driving when the cuff inflates, continue until it is safe to stop: the cuff will inflate until it gets a good reading.

Our monitors are not waterproof so please do not have a bath or shower, or go swimming during the recording period: if you have to have a bath or shower, please remove the monitor first.

Fitting the monitor by yourself is quite difficult but with the support of a second person we can show you how to do this at home.

Common issues

One or two repeated inflations are normal. Sometimes the monitor needs extra readings to get better results. However, if the cuff inflates itself repeatedly for four times or more, remove it and contact us.

If the cuff becomes loose undo the Velcro fastening and tighten the cuff back on to your arm. It needs to keep its position but not cut off circulation or cause any pain.

Returning the monitor

At the end of the recording period you can either remove the monitor yourself or come to the department so we can do it.

Do not try to turn off the monitor or remove the batteries. This can cause errors, or even delete the data entirely, meaning you have to do it all tagain.

Monitors are in high demand so please return your monitor as soon as possible. They are also expensive, so delays and non-returns are reported to our Legal Services team.

You must physically bring your monitor back to the hospital.

Monday to Friday 8.00am - 5.00pm you can return it to ECG reception.

Out of hours returns (JR only)

If you have to return a monitor outside our working hours please arrange this with our staff first.

The John Radcliffe Hospital has a drop off facility in Level 2 main reception - a family member or friend can return the monitor there for you.

You cannot post the monitor back, either to us or your GP, and we cannot collect it from you, so if you have difficulty returning it, please contact us.


Your results are sent directly to your referring clinician, who will tell you what they mean.

We cannot answer any questions about results in person or over the phone.

Find us and contact us

Please see Electrocardiogram (ECG) - Find us and contact us