The role of blood pressure variability in end-organ damage

Giuseppe Mancia, Gianfranco Parati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ultimate goal when treating high blood pressure is to reduce the incidence of end-organ damage and prevent cardiovascular disease, and thus reduce the incidence of premature death. Cuff blood pressure measurements have some prognostic value and have traditionally been used to predict the risk of end-organ damage. Such measurements, however, do not reflect accurately the 24-h mean blood pressure and hourly variations. For any value of cuff blood pressure, a lower 24-h mean blood pressure was associated with a lower prevalence and severity of end-organ damage. In the Pressioni Arteriose Monitorate E Loro Associazioni (PAMELA) study, data from 24-h ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) were more strongly associated with prognosis than other blood pressure data. Longitudinal evidence of the clinical relevance of 24-h ABPM data in predicting cardiovascular risk is less extensive. However, results from the Study on Ambulatory Monitoring of Pressure and Lisinopril Evaluation (SAMPLE) trial show the superiority of mean 24-h, daytime and night-time blood pressures over clinic readings in predicting the regression of left ventricular mass index in treated hypertensive patients. Furthermore, a direct, positive relationship has been established between 24-h blood pressure variability and the severity and rate of progression of end-organ damage. In addition, ABPM data demonstrate that hypertensive patients who do not exhibit a nocturnal reduction in blood pressure have a higher incidence of end-organ damage. Future directions for research and treatment of hypertension will need to consider the circadian cycle of blood pressure, the effect of treatment on blood pressure variability, and the magnitude of blood pressure changes in daily life.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Hypertension, Supplement
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2003


  • Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring
  • Blood pressure variability
  • End-organ damage
  • Hypertension

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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