Masked hypertension: a systematic review.
The purpose of this research was to review the literature on masked hypertension. Studies, reviews and editorials on masked hypertension were identified by PubMed, Pascal BioMed and Cochrane literature systematic searches. Then, we carried out a meta-analysis of the six cohort studies reporting quantitative data for masked hypertension prognosis. There is still no clear consensus definition of masked hypertension and the reproducibility of the phenomenon is unknown. Nevertheless, the prevalence of masked hypertension seems to lie between 8 and 20%, and can be up to 50% in treated hypertensive patients. Subjects with masked hypertension have a higher risk of cardiovascular accidents [hazard ratios: 1.92 (1.51-2.44)] than normotensive subjects. This is due to a possible failure to recognize and appropriately manage this particular form of hypertension, the frequent association with other risk factors and coexisting target organ damage. The remaining unresolved questions are as follows: is masked hypertension a clinical entity that requires identification and characterization or a statistical phenomenon linked to the variability of blood pressure measurements?; because screening of the entire population is not feasible, how to identify individuals with masked hypertension?; and, in the absence of randomized trial, how to treat masked hypertension?