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Pregnant women with hypertension can ‘safely monitor at home’

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Pregnant women with hypertension can safely monitor their blood pressure at home instead of going into a hospital or clinic, according to UK researchers.

They highlighted that adopting home blood pressure monitoring reduced the number of hospital visits required but without compromising their health and that of their babies.

“Home monitoring of hypertension in pregnancy has proven very popular and is likely to be safe and cost saving”

Asma Khalil

The study included 108 women from London who were taught how to measure and record their blood pressure using a validated machine at home. A control group of 58 women was monitored in a clinic.

All of the women had chronic hypertension, gestational hypertension or high risk of developing pre-eclampsia, no significant proteinuria and normal biochemical and hematological markers.

The researchers found that the home blood pressure monitoring group had significantly fewer outpatient attendances per patient than the control group – 6.5 versus 8.0.

There were also no differences in adverse maternal, foetal, or neonatal outcomes, according to the study, which was published today in the journal Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology.

For example, 11% of the home blood pressure monitoring were admitted to a neonatal unit, compared with 19% of the control group.

Meanwhile, 10.2% of the home group required steroid administration and 2.8% needed magnesium sulphate administration, compared to 6.9% and 8.6% of controls, respectively.

In addition, among the home group, 0.9%, 25% and 5.6% experienced an adverse maternal, foetal or neonatal outcome, respectively. This compared to 3.4%, 24.1% and 5.2% for the control group.

“It is time to use existing technology in order to improve the way we look after pregnant women”

Asma Khalil

Senior study author Professor Asma Khalil, from St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “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,” she said.

“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,” she added.

The scheme has now been selected to join the NHS Innovation Accelerator programme, which is supported by NHS England, Academic Health Science Networks, and University College London Partners.

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