Study reveals effectiveness of text message-based remote monitoring for postpartum hypertension

May 13, 2016

Text messaging could hold the key to identifying postpartum women at-risk for developing potentially life-threatening complications resulting from preeclampsia, according to a new study from researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The results are presented on Monday, May 16 at the American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology's (ACOG) Annual Clinical and Scientific Meeting in Washington, DC (poster #30-O).

Preeclampsia - the onset of high resulting from pregnancy - is a leading cause of death and complications for women in the days following childbirth and discharge from the hospital. The sooner the doctors can detect the condition getting worse after delivery, the greater the chance there is of successful treatment with medication. However, since there is currently no effective way of predicting who is at-risk for increasing blood pressure, by the time worsening conditions are identified, patients often require more intensive care.

Recent ACOG guidelines recommend blood via routine follow-up office visits within 72 hours of discharge and again at seven to ten days after childbirth. However, as many as 70 percent of patients do not attend these first follow-up appointments. With this in mind, and based on data showing that young women have high rates of cell phone use and text messaging, the Penn team hoped to determine whether implementing a remote blood pressure monitoring system for patients diagnosed with would allow them to identify advanced cases and intervene before hospital readmission is necessary.

"Platforms that take advantage of telemedicine technology allow clinical care teams to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients remotely, and have been well established as an effective means of delivering care across a variety of specialties," said lead author Adi Hirshberg, MD, a fellow in the department of Obstetricics and Gynecology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. "By monitoring blood pressure levels for our postpartum patients who are at home with new babies and can't always get to office visits, we can provide a convenient and effective way of identifying those who are at risk for complications and may require follow-up care before the situation becomes critical."

In the study, 32 patients previously diagnosed with preeclampsia were given blood pressure cuffs when discharged from the hospital after childbirth. For seven days following discharge, text messages were sent reminding patients to take a daily blood pressure reading and send the results to their care provider. Patients whose blood pressure was high were then asked to take additional readings. Eighty four percent of participants reported a blood pressure reading within 24 or 48 hours of discharge, and 65 percent continued reporting test results for at least five of the seven days. As a result of the reports, two patients were identified as having elevated blood pressure and were put on oral medications, but none of the participants required readmission to the hospital.

"Our results show that remote blood pressure monitoring via text messaging is an effective, convenient and patient-centered way of identifying patients who could be at risk of developing potentially life-threatening complications related to the condition," said senior author Sindhu Srinivas, MD, MSCE, director of Obstetrical Services at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and an associate professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. "Further studies are necessary to determine the widespread efficacy of adopting telemedicine platforms for care, but by all indications, it could become a cost-conscious way to improve care for , allowing them the convenience of staying home and lowering their risks of readmissions or complications."

Explore further: Pre-pregnancy heart abnormalities may predict recurrent preeclampsia risk

Related Stories

Pre-pregnancy heart abnormalities may predict recurrent preeclampsia risk

February 22, 2016
Women who had pregnancy-related high blood pressure multiple times had recognizable heart abnormalities between pregnancies that could help predict their risk for heart and blood vessel disease during subsequent pregnancies ...

Hypertensive disorders during pregnancy increase risk for high blood pressure after delivery

January 28, 2016
Women who are diagnosed with hypertensive disorders while pregnant are more than twice as likely to develop high blood pressure in the first year after delivery as women who did not have any pregnancy-related hypertension, ...

New study indicates that metformin has the potential to prevent and treat preeclampsia

December 22, 2015
An article published today in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology reports that a commonly-used drug for the treatment of diabetes, metformin, may have the potential to prevent and treat preeclampsia. Metformin ...

Many home blood pressure monitors may be inaccurate

October 28, 2014
Home blood pressure monitors may be inaccurate in up to 15% of patients, according to a study that will be presented at ASN Kidney Week 2014 November 11¬–16 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, PA.

Smartphone-based system may improve health of patients with chronic diseases

May 12, 2016
A new study shows how mobile technology can allow patients to work collaboratively with clinicians to improve their health. The research, which appears in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society ...

Four signs that a geriatric ER patient should be admitted to the hospital

March 4, 2016
Older adults who go to the emergency department with cognitive impairment, a change in disposition plan from admit to discharge, low blood pressure and elevated heart rate were more likely to be admitted to the intensive ...

Recommended for you

Post-heart attack: How can scar tissue be turned back into healthy heart muscle?

September 26, 2017
Heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death worldwide, partly due to limited therapeutic options and the heart's inability to regenerate healthy cells called cardiomyocytes after heart attacks. Scientists at ...

Genetic testing helps set safe dose of common blood thinner

September 26, 2017
Warfarin is a blood thinner that is commonly prescribed to patients to prevent life-threatening blood clots. Despite its longtime use, warfarin remains tricky to dose because a person's genetic makeup influences how the drug ...

Higher risk of heart failure in cold weather, study suggests

September 26, 2017
An increase in hospitalization and death in elderly patients with heart failure could be associated with changes in temperature and atmospheric pressure, according to a new study in Environment International. The authors ...

Gene therapy improved left ventricular and atrial function in heart failure by up to 25 percent

September 25, 2017
Heart function improved by up to 25 percent in a trial using gene therapy to reverse cardiac damage from congestive heart failure in a large animal model, Mount Sinai researchers report. This is the first study using a novel ...

Hospital mortality rates after heart attack differ by age

September 25, 2017
Outcomes for older patients hospitalized for a heart attack are often used as a measure of hospital quality for all patients. But a study led by Yale researchers shows that hospital mortality rates for older patients with ...

Tension makes the heart grow stronger

September 25, 2017
By taking videos of a tiny beating zebrafish heart as it reconstructs its covering in a petri dish, scientists have captured unexpected dynamics of cells involved in tissue regeneration. They found that the depleted heart ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.