Background: Non-dipping pattern in hypertensive patients has been shown to be associated with an excess of target organ damage and with an adverse outcome. The aim of our study was to assess whether a reduced nocturnal fall in blood pressure (BP), established on the basis of a single 24-h BP monitoring, in treated essential hypertensives is related to more prominent cardiac alterations. Methods: We enrrolled 229 treated hypertensive patients attending the out-patient clinic of our hypertension centre; each patient was subjected to the following procedures: 1) clinic BP measurement; 2) blood and urine sampling for routine blood chemistry and urine examination; 3) standard 12-lead electrocardiogram; 4) echocardiography; 5) ambulatory BP monitoring (ABPM). For the purpose of this study ABPM was carried-out in three subgroups with different clinic BP profile: 1) patients with satisfactory BP control (BP <140/90 mmHg; group I, n = 58); 2) patients with uncontrolled clinic BP (clinic BP values ≥ 140 and/or 90 mmHg) but lower self-measured BP (<20 mmHg for systolic BP and/or 10 mmHg for diastolic BP; group II, n = 72); 3) patients with refractory hypertension, selected according to WHO/ISH guidelines definition (group III, n = 99). Left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) was defined by two gender-specific criteria (LV mass index ≥125/ m2 in men and 110 g/m2 in women, ≥51/gm2.7 in men and 47/g/m 2.7 in women). Results: Of the 229 study participants 119 (51.9%) showed a fall in SBP/DBP <10% during the night (non-dippers). The prevalence of non-dippers was significantly lower in group I (44.8%) and II (41.6%) than in group III (63.9%, p <0.01 III vs II and I). The prevalence of LVH varied from 10.3 to 24.1% in group I, 31.9 to 43.1% in group II and from 60.6 to 67.7% in group III (p <0.01, III vs II and I). No differences in cardiac structure, analysed as continuous variable as well as prevalence of LVH, were found in relationship to dipping or non-dipping status in the three groups. Conclusions: In treated essential hypertensives with or without BP control the extent of nocturnal BP decrease is not associated with an increase in LV mass or LVH prevalence; therefore, the non-dipping profile, diagnosed on the basis of a single ABPM, does not identify hypertensive patients with greater cardiac damage.
ASJC Scopus subject areas