Target organ damage in "white coat hypertension" and "masked hypertension".
In this study we investigated (i) the prevalence of white coat hypertension (WCH) and masked hypertension (MH) in patients who had never been treated earlier with antihypertensive medication, and (ii) the association of these conditions with target organ damage. A total of 1,535 consecutive patients underwent office blood pressure (BP) measurements, 24-h ambulatory BP monitoring (ABPM), echocardiography, and ultrasonography of the carotid arteries. Subjects who showed normotension or hypertension on the basis of both office and ambulatory BP (ABP) measurement were characterized as having confirmed normotension or confirmed hypertension, respectively. WCH was defined as office hypertension with ambulatory normotension, and MH as office normotension with ambulatory hypertension. WCH was found in 17.9% and MH in 14.5% of the subjects. The prevalence of WCH was significantly higher in subjects with obesity, while the prevalence of MH was significantly higher in normal-weight subjects. The confirmed hypertensive subjects as well as the masked hypertensive subjects had significantly higher left ventricular mass (LVM) (corrected for body surface area) and carotid intima media thickness (cIMT) than the confirmed normotensive subjects did (108.9 +/- 30.6, 107.1 +/- 29.1 vs. 101.4 +/- 29.9 g/m(2) and 0.68 +/- 0.16, 0.68 +/- 0.21 vs. 0.63 +/- 0.15 mm, respectively, P < 0.005). White coat hypertensive subjects did not have a significantly higher LVM index than confirmed normotensive subjects (101.5 +/- 25.9 vs. 101.4 +/- 29.9 g/m(2)); they tended to have higher cIMT than the confirmed normotensive subjects, but the difference was not statistically significant (0.67 +/- 0.15 vs. 0.63 +/- 0.15 mm). WCH and MH are common conditions in patients who visit hypertension outpatient clinics. Confirmed hypertension and MH are accompanied by increased LVM index and cIMT, even after adjusting for other risk factors.