Variation in paediatric 24-h ambulatory blood pressure monitoring interpretation by Canadian and UK physicians
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Twenty-four-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) is widely accepted as a more accurate method for measurement of blood pressure (BP) compared to a single office-based measurement of BP. However, it is unclear how physicians interpret ABPM and make management decisions. This study's goal is to investigate variation in ABPM interpretation among paediatric nephrologists (Canada and UK) and paediatric cardiologists (Canada only) via an online survey. The survey content included baseline demographics, questions on the use and indications for ABPM, interpretation of results, and subsequent management decisions in various clinical scenarios. The survey was sent to 196 Canadian physicians, with 69 (35.2%) total responses. Thirty-five UK clinicians also completed the survey. Most respondents were >44 years old, were in practice for at least 11 years, and were university-based. There were substantial differences among clinicians in ABPM interpretation for isolated systolic, diastolic, and night-time hypertension. For example, only 53.1% of physicians would initiate or modify treatment in those with diastolic HTN in CKD. Further, even for the same abnormal ABPM parameter, the decision to start or alter treatment was influenced by the underlying medical condition. There is significant variation in clinical practice among physicians for interpretation and management of hypertension when using ABPM. Differences in guidelines among various jurisdictions, as well as knowledge gaps in the research on which guidelines are based, create ambiguity regarding ABPM interpretation and management decisions. A more protocolized approach and further insight into the reasoning behind the variation in physicians' interpretation may help to standardise practice.
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