Ambulatory blood pressure higher than clinic BP, study shows

Researchers say 24-hour ambulatory BP monitoring could benefit people with prehypertension following trial of 888 people. 

GP takes blood pressure of patient

Ambulatory blood pressure (ABP) has consistently been shown to be a better predictor of cardiovascular health than clinic blood pressure (CBP). But it has generally been thought that ABP is lower than CBP owing to the ‘white coat’ effect.

To find out if this is true, researchers used data from 888 healthy people and compared nine CBP measurements taken at three clinic visits with 24-hour ABP recordings.

The team found that the mean awake ABP was significantly higher than the mean CBP (123.0/77.4 versus 116.0/75.4 mmHg). They also found that 16% of participants had masked hypertension — a normal CBP but elevated ABP.

Reporting in Circulation
(online, 5 December 2016), the team says the results suggest that 24-hour ABP monitoring could benefit many people, particularly those presenting with prehypertension, by identifying hypertension in individuals who appear to have normal blood pressure in the clinic.


[1] Schwartz JE, Burg MM, Shimbo D et al. Clinic blood pressure underestimates ambulatory blood pressure in an untreated employer-based US population. Circulation 2016;134:1794–1807. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.116.023404

Last updated
Clinical Pharmacist, CP, January 2017, Vol 9, No 1;9(1):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2017.20202120

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