Hypertensive episodes and circadian fluctuations of blood pressure in patients with phaeochromocytoma: studies by longterm blood pressure monitoring based on a volume-oscillometric method

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A new portable device for the indirect measurement of arterial blood pressure was successfully applied to detect proxysmal hypertension and circadian fluctuation of blood pressure in patients with phaeochromocytoma. The device utilizes the volume-oscillometric technique, it is equipped with a microprocessor and allows long-term automatic monitoring of indirect blood pressure in the human finger. Compared with conventional fully automated portable devices of the arm-cuff type, our current equipment is lighter, less noisy, and causes less discomfort. With this device repeated measurements can be made without causing stress or discomfort, and without disturbing sleep. The arterial pressure measurement obtained using this device was reliable and reproducible. In some patients certain symptoms, possibly due to phaeochromo-cytoma, had been observed for several years before the study, although hypertension had not been identified. While these patients had consistently high circulating catecholamine levels, nocturnal falls in blood pressure were clearly documented. This suggests that plasma catecholamines released from the phaeochromocytoma, though excessive, may be of less physiological importance than other regulatory mechanisms concerned with circadian fluctuation of blood pressure, e.g. the sympathetic nervous system and/or hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal system. This new device has proved to be a reliable means of monitoring long-term blood pressure and is useful in the diagnosis of paroxysmal hypertension in patients with phaeochromocytoma.

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