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Background: Hypertension is a leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Although control rates have improved over time, racial/ethnic disparities in hypertension control persist. Self-blood pressure monitoring, by itself, has been shown to be an effective tool in predominantly white populations, but less studied in minority, urban communities. These types of minimally intensive approaches are important to test in all populations, especially those experiencing related health disparities, for broad implementation with limited resources.

Methods and results: The New York City Health Department in partnership with community clinic networks implemented a randomized clinical trial (n=900, 450 per arm) to investigate the effectiveness of self-blood pressure monitoring in medically underserved and largely black and Hispanic participants. Intervention participants received a home blood pressure monitor and training on use, whereas control participants received usual care. After 9 months, systolic blood pressure decreased (intervention, 14.7 mm Hg; control, 14.1 mm Hg; P=0.70). Similar results were observed when incorporating longitudinal data and calculating a mean slope over time. Control was achieved in 38.9% of intervention and 39.1% of control participants at the end of follow-up; the time-to-event experience of achieving blood pressure control in the intervention versus control groups were not different from each other (logrank P value =0.91).

Conclusions: Self-blood pressure monitoring was not shown to improve control over usual care in this largely minority, urban population. The patient population in this study, which included a high proportion of Hispanics and uninsured persons, is understudied. Results indicate these groups may have additional meaningful barriers to achieving blood pressure control beyond access to the monitor itself.

blood pressure monitoring; clinical trial; hypertension; lifestyle; population.