I am
24-hour Blood Pressure Monitoring
heartfoundation.org.au|Helpline 13 11 12

24-hour Blood Pressure Monitoring

Blood pressure monitoring at home using a 24-hour blood pressure monitor test.

Blood pressure can be monitored in many different settings including a clinic, hospital or at home. 

Blood pressure is the pressure of your blood on the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps it around your body. Your blood pressure will go up and down naturally throughout the day depending on what you are doing. For example, it will go up if you are doing exercise and down when you are resting. 

How is the test done? 

A sleeve, or cuff, is placed firmly over your upper arm. The cuff often has markers to line up with the inside bend of your arm. When the measurement is happening, the unit will pump air into the cuff and slowly inflate, getting tighter around your arm. You may feel some numbness or tingling as the cuff gets tighter. The cuff will then slowly deflate, and the tightness will reduce. 

A blood pressure reading with two numbers will be recorded to measure when the blood flow to your arm stopped and when it returned. These numbers reflect the pressure of blood inside the walls of your artery. 

For a 24-hour or ambulatory blood pressure monitor, you will need to wear a blood pressure unit. The unit consists of a blood pressure cuff that is worn on your upper arm and connected to a monitor. You wear the monitor on a strap over your shoulder.  

For the next 24 hours, your heart rate and blood pressure will be measured at 20-30 minute intervals during the day and night. When you feel the cuff getting tighter, it’s important to stop and rest until the measurement is complete. Usually each reading takes 30-40 seconds. 

When you have the 24-hour blood pressure system connected, it will take about 15 minutes to have the cuff put on and get instructions. You will need to return to the hospital at the same time the next day (24 hours later) to have the strap and monitor taken off. 

If you are monitoring your blood pressure yourself at home, view our factsheet on how to prepare and how to perform the reading correctly. 

Download the fact sheet: Measuring your blood pressure at home (PDF)

What does the test show? 

Blood pressure monitoring will measure the force at which blood travels around your body. Everyone has a blood pressure and your doctor will tell you what your ideal blood pressure should be, based on your medical history. 

Visit our blood pressure and your heart page to learn more

Why is the test done? 

High blood pressure is a very important risk factor for heart disease. Measuring your blood pressure at home is a good way to understand how your blood pressure changes during the day, or from one day to the next, in response to lifestyle changes and medical treatment. Your doctor may use your home measurements to make treatment decisions.  

Preparing for the test 

There’s nothing special you need to do before having your 24-hour blood pressure monitor fitted.

However, while you are wearing the unit you must: 

  • Wear a loose-fitting shirt 
  • Remain still during the readings (when the cuff tightens)  
  • Record the time, any symptoms, and your mood, activity, and bedtime in your patient diary  
  • Press the button on the monitor as soon as you notice symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, chest pain or sudden shortness of breath 
  • Make sure the monitor stays connected while you undress 
  • Take your normal medications. 

 You must also follow these important guidelines: 

  • Don’t wear long-sleeved sweaters or dresses  
  • Don’t take the cuff off or remove the batteries from the unit  
  • Don’t get the monitor wet (i.e., don’t swim, shower or bathe)  
  • Don’t use power tools or heavy equipment, as vibrations can disrupt the monitor. 


Knowing what your blood pressure is and having it regularly checked is important in maintaining a healthy heart. 

You might also be interested in

Coronary Artery Calcium Scoring

Coronary Artery Calcium Scoring

A coronary artery calcium score can be used following a Heart Health Check to estimate your risk of heart attack....

Time to book a Heart Health Check?

Time to book a Heart Health Check?

Time to book a Heart Health Check?

If you're 45 and over, or 30 and over if you're of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent, you should book your Heart Health Check today...

Blood tests for heart disease

Blood tests for heart disease

Blood tests can measure the levels of substances such as blood fat to show if, and how much of, your heart has been damaged....

Chest x-ray for heart disease

Chest x-ray for heart disease

Chest x-ray for heart disease

This test can help your doctor determine if there is anything wrong with your heart....

Coronary Angiogram Test

Coronary Angiogram Test

This is a common test done to find out angina symptoms, or during or after a heart attack. ...

Medical tests for heart disease

Medical tests for heart disease

Medical tests for heart disease

Learn about the common tests your doctor may want you to have to diagnose your heart condition....

Heart Age Calculator

Heart Age Calculator

Heart Age Calculator

Could you be at risk of heart disease? Get your estimated heart age now....

Environment, climate change and heart health

Environment, climate change and heart health

Environment, climate change and heart health

Information on how air pollution, heatwaves and bushfires can impact heart health, and what you can do to look after yourself. ...

Jump Rope for Heart

Jump Rope for Heart

Jump Rope for Heart

Jump Rope for Heart teaches school children how to keep fit and healthy through skipping!...

Physical activity in the workplace

Physical activity in the workplace

Physical activity in the workplace

Resources to help you create a more physically active workplace....

Building physical activity into urban planning and design

Building physical activity into urban planning and design

Building physical activity into urban planning and design

Resources available for built environment professionals to help guide in the development of active outdoor and indoor spaces....

Healthy Active by Design

Healthy Active by Design

Healthy Active by Design

Improving the design of our cities, towns, streets and buildings makes it easier for Australians to lead heart-healthy lives....

Getting active at school

Getting active at school

Getting active at school

Physical activity resources for school staff....

Your heart is your most important tool

Your heart is your most important tool

Your heart is your most important tool

Men’s Health Week is the perfect time to think about your heart....

More Australians die of Heart Disease than any other cause.

More Australians die of Heart Disease than any other cause.

More Australians die of Heart Disease than any other cause.

And the heartache lasts a lifetime. But you can help the Heart Foundation fund life-saving research to keep more families together....

Stay informed about COVID-19

Stay informed about COVID-19

Stay informed about COVID-19

If you have heart disease, you are more vulnerable to severe complications....

Heart Foundation recipes

Heart Foundation recipes

Heart Foundation recipes

Check out our recipe categories to find your next heart healthy meal....

Holiday Treats | Holiday Recipe Booklet

Holiday Treats | Holiday Recipe Booklet

Holiday Treats | Holiday Recipe Booklet

Bring family and friends together in the kitchen over this Festive season to help you create your favourite festive treats!...

Personal Walking Plan

Personal Walking Plan

Personal Walking Plan

Feel healthier and happier in six weeks with a free Personal Walking Plan...

Time to book a Heart Health Check?

Time to book a Heart Health Check?

Time to book a Heart Health Check?

If you're 45 and over, or 30 and over if you're of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent, you should book your Heart Health Check today...

Medical tests for heart disease

Medical tests for heart disease

Medical tests for heart disease

Learn about the common tests your doctor may want you to have to diagnose your heart condition....

How to make healthier meals at home

How to make healthier meals at home

How to make healthier meals at home

Cooking at home is often healthier than eating out....

What is heart valve disease?

What is heart valve disease?

What is heart valve disease?

Heart valve disease means that your heart valve or valves don't open or close properly....

What is a heart attack?

What is a heart attack?

What is a heart attack?

The most common cause of a heart attack is coronary heart disease....

After being treated for atrial fibrillation, Boyd is now back on track

After being treated for atrial fibrillation, Boyd is now back on track

After being treated for atrial fibrillation, Boyd is now back on track

Running has been an important part of Boyd's life, so imagine his shock when a heart condition he had never heard of threatened to put a stop to it. ...

Coronary Artery Calcium Scoring

Coronary Artery Calcium Scoring

A coronary artery calcium score can be used following a Heart Health Check to estimate your risk of heart attack....

What is angina?

What is angina?

What is angina?

Angina is a type of chest pain or discomfort that’s a symptom of an underlying heart problem, usually coronary heart disease (CHD)....

What is an arrhythmia?

What is an arrhythmia?

What is an arrhythmia?

Arrhythmia is a fault in the heart’s electrical system, which affects your heart’s pumping rhythm....

What is heart disease?

What is heart disease?

What is heart disease?

Heart disease is the broad term for conditions that affect the structure and function of the heart muscle. ...

What is atrial fibrillation?

What is atrial fibrillation?

What is atrial fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation is a type of arrhythmia where your heart beats irregularly and fast....

What is heart failure?

What is heart failure?

What is heart failure?

Heart failure is a condition where your heart isn’t pumping as well as it should be....

Women and heart disease

Women and heart disease

Women and heart disease

Information on women and heart disease for consumers....

Chest x-ray for heart disease

Chest x-ray for heart disease

Chest x-ray for heart disease

This test can help your doctor determine if there is anything wrong with your heart....

What is coronary heart disease?

What is coronary heart disease?

What is coronary heart disease?

Coronary heart disease (CHD) or coronary artery disease occurs when a coronary artery clogs and narrows because of a buildup of plaque....

Are you at risk of heart disease?

Are you at risk of heart disease?

Are you at risk of heart disease?

There is no single cause for any one heart condition, but there are risk factors that increase your chance of developing one. ...

What is a cardiac arrest?

What is a cardiac arrest?

What is a cardiac arrest?

With immediate help a cardiac arrest can be survived. Learn how to save a life....