Evaluation of tolerance to ambulatory blood pressure monitoring: Analysis of dipping profile in a large cohort of hypertensive patients

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Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) is a helpful tool to comprehensively identify and diagnose arterial hypertension. Moreover, it allows to better identify alterations in the circadian BP profile, as the nocturnal “nondipping” status, characterized by a lack of the physiological 10% night BP reduction and associated with a greater risk of target organ damage. However, ABPM has some limitations such as restricted availability, discomfort, particularly at night, cost implications, and reproducibility.

Aim of the study was evaluate if the “nondipping” phenomenon may be related to low degree of tolerance to ABPM. Additionally, to determine whether self-reported events of sleep disorders and nighttime urinations may affect the “nondipping” status.

From January 2013 to December 2015, we consecutively evaluated 1046 patients with arterial hypertension, performing ABPM, considering a tolerance index calculated on the basis of the patients’ responses to a questionnaire.

Thirty-eight out of 1046 patients showed complete lack of tolerance to the instrument during the day, whilst 126 during the night. There were no statistically significant differences in daytime and nighttime values of tolerance to the instrument between “dippers” and “nondippers,” between “extreme-dippers” and the remaining patients or between “reverse-dippers” and the remaining patients. There were no statistically significant differences in the number of nocturnal awakenings between the groups. However, we found that the number of awakenings followed by urination was higher in “nondipping” patients and in “reverse-dipping” patients compared to the other groups.

We found that the poor tolerance to the instrument does not seem to influence the BP “dipping” phenomenon among hypertensive individuals. Moreover, we think that in the evaluation of the ABPM data, factors, such as nocturnal urination and sleep disorders, need to be carefully taken into account, since may lead to a higher incidence of “nondipping” pattern.

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