How reliable is isolated clinical hypertension defined by a single 24-h ambulatory blood pressure monitoring?

Cesare Cuspidi, Stefano Meani, Carla Sala, Cristiana Valerio, Veronica Fusi, Alberto Zanchetti, Giuseppe Mancia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Isolated clinical hypertension (ICH) is characterized by a persistently elevated clinic blood pressure in the presence of a normal day-time or 24-h ambulatory blood pressure (ABP). This definition is based on a single ABP monitoring (ABPM) and little attention has been focused on the reproducibility of this condition. OBJECTIVE: To investigate the reliability of the criteria currently recommended by major hypertension guidelines to detect ICH based on a single 24-h ABPM session. METHODS: A total of 611 never-treated grade 1 and 2 hypertensive patients (mean age 46 ± 12 years) referred for the first time to our out-patient clinic, underwent repeated clinic blood pressure measurements, routine investigations, two 24-h periods of ABPM 1-4 weeks apart, cardiac and carotid ultrasound examinations. ABPM was always performed over a working day and the same daily activities were recommended during the two periods. ICH was diagnosed by the following criteria: (i) mean daytime values <135/85 mmHg or (ii) mean 24-h blood pressure values <125/80 mmHg during the first ABPM. RESULTS: The overall prevalence of ICH was 7.1% according to criterion (i) and 5.4% according to criterion (ii). Twenty (46.6%) of the 43 patients with mean daytime blood pressure values <135/85 mmHg during the first ABPM, exceeded this cut-off value during the second ABPM period. Twenty-two (66.6%) of the 33 patients with mean 24-h blood pressure values <120/80 mmHg during the first ABPM did not confirm a normal blood pressure profile during the second ABPM recording. Cardiovascular involvement was significantly lower in subjects with persistent normal ABP compared to those with non-reproducible ICH pattern or sustained hypertensives. CONCLUSIONS: These findings clearly indicate that: (i) the classification of ICH on the basis of a single ABPM, using the cut-offs suggested by major hypertension guidelines, has a limited short-term reproducibility and (ii) repeated ABPM recordings should be recommended to correctly diagnose patients with ICH and improve cardiovascular risk stratification.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-320
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Hypertension
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2007


  • Isolated clinic hypertension
  • Reproducibility
  • Target organ damage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Internal Medicine

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