Hypertension occurs commonly following renal transplantation and may cause end organ damage, such as cardiac hypertrophy. This study seeks to determine which features of hypertension are related to cardiac hypertrophy in children after renal transplantation. Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) was performed in 45 pediatric patients, 4.9+/-3.0 years after renal transplantation. ABPM data were related to clinical features and echocardiographic measurements. Hypertension was demonstrated in 33% of patients by casual blood pressure (BP) measurement and in 40% by ABPM. The mean percentage nighttime decline in BP (dipping) was 8.9+/-5.0% for systolic and 13.9+/-7.7% for diastolic BP. Abnormal dipping (<10%) was seen in 58% of patients. BP load (percentage of BP recordings above 95th percentile) was >30% in 44% of patients. Patients taking antihypertensive medication had more abnormal dipping and greater nighttime BP load. The prevalence of left ventricular hypertrophy was 72% before transplantation, 75% after transplantation, and 54% near to ABPM. Left ventricular mass (LVM) indexed to height(3) decreased significantly after transplantation. (40.2+/-14.7 vs. 35.0+/-8.3 g/m(3), P=0.0002). There was no significant relationship between ABPM data and LVM. ABPM was not able to differentiate those patients with persistently elevated LVM. The results suggest that hypertension is not always associated with cardiac hypertrophy following pediatric renal transplantation.