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Hypertension. 2005 Feb;45(2):203-8. Epub 2004 Dec 13.

Short- and long-term incidence of stroke in white-coat hypertension.

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  • 1Dipartimento Malattie Cardiovascolari, Ospedale R. Silvestrini, Perugia, Italy. <>


White-coat hypertension (WCH) has been associated with a low risk for stroke, but long-term data are scanty. We analyzed individual data from 4 prospective cohort studies from the United States, Italy, and Japan that used comparable methodology for 24-hour noninvasive ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM). Overall, 4406 subjects with essential hypertension and 1549 healthy normotensive controls who were untreated at the time of initial ABPM were followed for a median of 5.4 years up to censoring or occurrence of a first stroke. At entry, mean age of subjects was 56 years (range 18 to 97). Prevalence of WCH was 9%. During follow-up, there were 213 new cases of stroke. Stroke rate (x100 person years) was 0.35 in the normotensive group, 0.59 in the WCH group, and 0.65 in the group with ambulatory hypertension. In a multivariate analysis, the adjusted hazard ratio for stroke was 1.15 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.61 to 2.16) in the WCH group (P=0.66) and 2.01 (95% CI, 1.31 to 3.08) in the ambulatory hypertension group (P=0.001) compared with the normotensive group. After the sixth year of follow-up, the incidence of stroke tended to increase in the WCH group, and the corresponding hazard curve crossed that of the ambulatory hypertension group by the ninth year of follow-up. In conclusion, WCH was not associated with a definitely increased risk of stroke during the total follow-up period. However, WCH might not be a benign condition for stroke in the long term.

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