Blood pressure self-monitoring in pregnancy: examining feasibility in a prospective cohort study
Katherine L. Tucker, Kathryn S. Taylor, Carole Crawford, James A. Hodgkinson, Clare Bankhead, Tricia Carver, Elizabeth Ewers, Margaret Glogowska, Sheila M. Greenfield, Lucy Ingram, Lisa Hinton, Khalid S. Khan, Louise Locock, Lucy Mackillop, Christine McCourt, Alexander M. Pirie, Richard Stevens and Richard J. McManus
Background: Raised blood pressure (BP) affects approximately 10% of pregnancies worldwide, and a high proportion of affected women develop pre-eclampsia. This study aimed to evaluate the feasibility of self-monitoring of BP in pregnancy in women at higher risk of pre-eclampsia. Methods: This prospective cohort study of self-monitoring BP in pregnancy was carried out in two hospital trusts in Birmingham and Oxford and thirteen primary care practices in Oxfordshire. Eligible women were those defined by the UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines as at higher risk of pre-eclampsia. A total of 201 participants were recruited between 12 and 16 weeks of pregnancy and were asked to take two BP readings twice daily three times a week through their pregnancy. Primary outcomes were recruitment, retention and persistence of self-monitoring. Study recruitment and retention were analysed with descriptive statistics. Survival analysis was used to evaluate the persistence of self-monitoring and the performance of self-monitoring in the early detection of gestational hypertension, compared to clinic BP monitoring. Secondary outcomes were the mean clinic and self-monitored BP readings and the performance of self-monitoring in the detection of gestational hypertension and pre-eclampsia compared to clinic BP. Results: Of 201 women recruited, 161 (80%) remained in the study at 36 weeks or to the end of their pregnancy, 162 (81%) provided any home readings suitable for analysis, 148 (74%) continued to self-monitor at 20 weeks and 107 (66%) at 36 weeks. Self-monitored readings were similar in value to contemporaneous matched clinic readings for both systolic and diastolic BP. Of the 23 who developed gestational hypertension or pre-eclampsia and self-monitored, 9 (39%) had a raised home BP prior to a raised clinic BP. Conclusions: Self-monitoring of BP in pregnancy is feasible and has potential to be useful in the early detection of gestational hypertensive disorders but maintaining self-monitoring throughout pregnancy requires support and probably enhanced training.