Variability of diurnal changes in ambulatory blood pressure and nocturnal dipping status in untreated hypertensive and normotensive subjects

Am J Hypertens. 2000 Sep;13(9):1035-8. doi: 10.1016/s0895-7061(00)00261-2.


An absent or diminished blood pressure (BP) fall during sleep (so-called "nondipping") has been associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular complications, but the long-term reproducibility of dipper status and the relationship between diurnal changes in BP and perceived sleep quality have not been previously documented in untreated hypertensive patients. Ambulatory BP (ABP) and dipping status were examined in 79 subjects (69 hypertensives and 10 normotensives) at 0, 6, and 12 months. Fifty-six percent of subjects had no change in their dipping status, the majority (53%) dipping normally on all three occasions. However, 44% of patients had variable dipping status, and normal nighttime dipping in BP was observed more often when patients perceived their sleep quality to be good during the period of ABP recording. These results highlight significant intrasubject variability in the diurnal fluctuations in ABP and dipper status, which may in part reflect day-to-day variations in sleep disturbance during ABP monitoring. Classifying hypertensive patients into dippers or nondippers on the basis of a single ABP recording is unreliable and potentially misleading.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Pressure Monitoring, Ambulatory*
  • Blood Pressure*
  • Circadian Rhythm*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reference Values
  • Sleep / physiology