Volume overload appears to induce hypertension in hemodialysis patients, yet studies of the effect of hydration status on interdialytic blood pressure (BP) have yielded contradictory results. We measured interdialytic BP by ambulatory BP monitoring (ABPM) during inpatient fluid restriction in 12 children receiving chronic hemodialysis to describe the overall BP pattern and to determine the effect of weight gain on BP change. Weight was measured on admission and four times each day. For each weight, casual BP was measured and compared with the mean of 3 hours of ABPM surrounding the weight measurement. Sleep BP decreased from daytime BP by 6% for systolic BP (SBP) and 11% for diastolic BP (DBP). Sleep loads were greater than daytime loads (P < 0.01) for SBP (53% v 28%) and DBP (57% v 27%). Overall, 58% (7 of 12) of the patients had sleep SBP load greater than 50%, and 67% (8 of 12) of the patients had sleep DBP load greater than 50%. Casual and ABPM measurements of BP showed moderate correlations for SBP (r = 0.51) and DBP (r = 0.46) and mean differences between methods of 6.3 +/- 13.2 mm Hg and -1.4 +/- 12.6 mm Hg, respectively. Increases in interdialytic weight were positively associated with increases in SBP (r = 0.41; P < 0.001), and interdialytic BP changes varied closely with corresponding weight changes. We conclude that in children receiving chronic hemodialysis: (1) sleep BP decreases are attenuated and sleep BP loads are elevated, (2) casual BP correlates poorly with ABPM, and (3) interdialytic weight and BP are related.