For over 100 years, blood pressure has conventionally been measured at the upper arm, but there are many limitations of this method that may result in sub optimal diagnosis of hypertension and individual patient care. New techniques have been developed to measure the blood pressure at the central (organ) level, by using an algorithm to generate a central (aortic) blood pressure waveform from the pulse wave recorded using an upper arm cuff device.

This has enabled measurement of aortic blood pressure over 24 hours using a methodology that is similar to conventional 24 hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (i.e. simple cuff inflation at regular times throughout the day and night, with data recorded by a small device worn on a belt).

Information from these new 24 hour ambulatory aortic blood pressure devices is expected to be clinically superior to conventional blood pressure measures and may be used to improve management of people with hypertension. However, to date there are no normative (or threshold) reference standards for 24 hour ambulatory aortic blood pressure as this type of analysis requires data from many thousands of participants. This data will be crucial for determining treatment thresholds and will be used to guide the design of future clinical trials.