The effect of home training with direct blood pressure biofeedback of hypertensives: A placebo-controlled study

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Hypertension, 1998, 16 (6), pp. 771 - 778
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Background. Home training in self-lowering of blood pressure using continuous blood pressure feedback has not previously been reported. Enhancement of laboratory-learned skills was hypothesized on the basis of outcomes from other intellectual, emotional and physical endeavours. Objective. To examine the supplementary effect of home blood pressure biofeedback training. Design. Thirty unmedicated, mild hypertensives participated in a randomized, double-blinded, modified contingency placebo-controlled study. Method. After suitable screening and baseline blood pressure measurements subjects undertook eight laboratory biofeedback sessions and then 12 home training sessions over 4 weeks using continuous finger blood pressure monitoring. Results. In the laboratory those being administered active therapy (n =16) lowered systolic pressures by 5 ± 5.4 mmHg compared with a lowering of 4 ± 4.2 mmHg with placebo (NS). During the fourth week at home lowering for the active group (11 ± 8 mmHg) was greater than that with placebo (4 ± 6.2 mmHg, P = 0.017). Arm-cuff blood pressures were not statistically different for groups and with time but that of the active group was lower by 9 ± 15.4/7 ± 10.2 mmHg, which is a clinically relevant change, after home biofeedback. Conclusions. The efficacy of self-lowering of systolic blood pressure in mild hypertensives by continuous feedback was enhanced by 6 mmHg with 4 weeks of practice at home. Standard arm-cuff blood pressure was reduced by a clinically relevant amount. The home environment proved cost effective for this 'high-tech' approach.
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