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Hypertens Res. 2009 May;32(5):404-10. doi: 10.1038/hr.2009.32. Epub 2009 Mar 27.

A 15-year longitudinal study on ambulatory blood pressure tracking from childhood to early adulthood.

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Department of Pediatrics, Medical College of Georgia, Georgia Prevention Institute, Augusta, GA, USA.


This study evaluates the tracking stability of office blood pressure (BP), ambulatory BP (ABP), BP variability (BPV) and nocturnal BP drops (dipping) from childhood to early adulthood, and their dependence on ethnicity, gender and family history (FH) of essential hypertension (EH). Generalized estimating equations (GEEs) were used to estimate tracking coefficients for 295 European Americans and 252 African Americans, with a maximum of 12 measurements over a 15-year period. Office BP and ABP had moderate-to-relatively high tracking coefficients (r= 0.30-0.59; P<or=0.001). Twenty-four hour readings tracked better than office readings for diastolic BP (DBP; 0.57 vs. 0.46, P=1.72 x 10(-6)) and pulse pressure (PP) (0.59 vs. 0.51, P=2.70 x 10(-4)), and equally well for systolic BP (SBP; 0.55 vs. 0.54, P=0.805). Daytime readings tracked better than their night-time counterparts for SBP (0.50 vs. 0.37, P=7.62 x 10(-13)), DBP (0.49 vs. 0.30, P=7.98 x 10(-32)) and PP (0.55 vs. 0.50, P=0.0061). All BPV (r=0.08-0.28; P<or=0.001) and dipping measures (r=0.07-0.12; odds ratio, 1.60-1.73; P<or=0.001) had low tracking coefficients. Males had significantly higher tracking stability for office SBP, DBP and ambulatory PP than females (P<0.01). Subjects with a positive FH of EH had significantly higher tracking stability for daytime and night-time DBP and dipping indexed by continuous variables than those with a negative FH (P<0.001). No significant ethnic differences were observed. The high tracking stability of 24-h ABP highlights the importance of using ambulatory BP monitoring in both research and clinical settings.

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