Reproducibility of nocturnal blood pressure fall in early phases of untreated essential hypertension: a prospective observational study.J Hum Hypertens. 2004 Jul; 18(7):503-9.JH
A number of studies have shown that a smaller than normal nocturnal blood pressure (BP) decrease is associated with cardiovascular disease. However, no large prospective studies have examined the reliability of nocturnal dipping within individuals. The aim of our study was to investigate the short-term variability of nocturnal BP fall in a large cohort of patients with recently diagnosed essential hypertension. In all, 414 uncomplicated never treated hypertensive patients referred to our outpatient hypertension hospital clinic (mean age 46+/-12 years; 257 M, 157 F) prospectively underwent: (1). repeated clinic BP measurements; (2). routine examinations recommended by WHO/ISH guidelines; and (3). ambulatory BP monitoring (ABPM) twice within a 4-week period. Dipping pattern was defined as a reduction in the average systolic and diastolic BP at night greater than 10% compared to average daytime values. Overall, 311 patients (75.1%) showed no change in their diurnal variations in BP. Of the 278 patients who had a dipping pattern on the first ABPM, 219 (78.7%) confirmed this type of profile on the second ABPM, while 59 (21.3%) showed a nondipping pattern. Among 37 dipper patients with >20% of nocturnal systolic BP decrease (extreme dippers), only 16 (43.2%) had this marked fall in BP on the second ABPM. Of the 136 patients who had a nondipping pattern on the first ABPM, 92 (67.6%) confirmed their initial profile on the second ABPM, while 44 (32.4%) did not. Patients with reproducible nondipping profile were older (48+/-12 years) than those with reproducible dipping profile (44+/-12 years, P<0.05). These findings indicate that: (1). short-term reproducibility of nocturnal fall in BP in untreated middle-aged hypertensives is rather limited: overall, one-fourth of patients changed their initial dipping patterns when they were studied again after a few weeks; (2). this was particularly true for extreme dipping and nondipping patterns; (3). abnormalities in nocturnal BP fall, assessed by a single ABPM, cannot be taken as independent predictors of increased cardiovascular risk.