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J Hypertens. 2015 Nov;33(11):2257-64. doi: 10.1097/HJH.0000000000000690.

Night-time blood pressure and target organ damage: a comparative analysis of absolute blood pressure and dipping status.

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aDepartment of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College Cork, Western Road, Cork bDepartment of Geriatrics, Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown, Dublin cDepartment of Cardiology, Cork University Hospital, Wilton, Cork dConway Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical Research, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland.



The prognostic significance of abnormal circadian blood pressure (BP) patterns is well established. Research to date has focused on both nocturnal dipping and absolute night-time BP levels; however, which of these variables should be the primary target for therapy remains unclear. The aim of this study is to determine whether dipping status or absolute night-time BP levels have a stronger association with subclinical target organ damage (TOD).


The Mitchelstown Cohort was established to examine cardiovascular health in an adult population sample recruited from primary care. Night-time BP was categorized by dipping status. Subclinical TOD was defined as Cornell Product left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) voltage criteria on ECG and urine albumin : creatinine ratio (ACR) at least 1.1 mg/mmol. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to assess the association between night-time BP and TOD.


Of 2047 participants, 1207 (response rate 59%), underwent 24-h ambulatory BP monitoring. We excluded 161 studies due to incomplete data. Of 1046 participants, 178 (17%) had evidence of TOD. Each 10-mmHg rise in night-time SBP increased the odds of TOD. Odds ratio (OR) ACR at least 1.1 mg/mmol 1.5 [95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.2-1.8] and OR LVH 1.4 (95% CI 1.1-1.8).


Absolute BP level rather than dipping status may be a superior early marker of risk associated with night-time BP. Interventional studies are required to determine whether there is a benefit in specifically targeting absolute night-time BP levels to prevent clinically important outcomes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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