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To compare the prediction of mortality by ambulatory blood pressure monitoring and screening blood pressure measurements in a general population.A prospective cohort study.We obtained blood pressure data for 1542 subjects (565 men and 977 women) aged ≥ 40 years who were followed up for up to 8.1 years (mean 5.1 years). Subjects were subdivided into five groups according to their ambulatory and screening blood pressure levels. The prognostic significance of blood pressure for mortality was examined by the Cox proportional hazards regression model.The association between blood pressure level and mortality was more distinctive for the ambulatory blood pressure than it was for the screening blood pressure. The risk of cardiovascular mortality increased significantly for the highest quintiles of 24 h ambulatory blood pressure, whereas there was no significant association between the screening blood pressure and the cardiovascular mortality. When both 24 h and screening blood pressure values were included in the Cox model, only the systolic ambulatory blood pressure was related significantly to the increased risk of cardiovascular mortality.The ambulatory blood pressure had a stronger predictive power for mortality than did the screening blood pressure. This appears to have been the first study of the prognostic significance of ambulatory blood pressure monitoring versus screening blood pressure measurements in a general population.