Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring in the prediction of cardiovascular events and effects of chronotherapy: rationale and design of the MAPEC study

Chronobiol Int. 2007;24(4):749-75. doi: 10.1080/07420520701535837.


Ambulatory blood pressure (BP) measurements (ABPM) correlate more closely with target organ damage and cardiovascular events than clinical cuff measurements. ABPM reveals the significant circadian variation in BP, which in most individuals presents a morning increase, small post-prandial decline, and more extensive lowering during nocturnal rest. However, under certain pathophysiological conditions, the nocturnal BP decline may be reduced (non-dipper pattern) or even reversed (riser pattern). This is clinically relevant because the non-dipper and riser circadian BP patterns constitute a risk factor for left ventricular hypertrophy, microalbuminuria, cerebrovascular disease, congestive heart failure, vascular dementia, and myocardial infarction. Hence, there is growing interest in how to best tailor and individualize the treatment of hypertension according to the specific circadian BP pattern of each patient. All previous trials that have demonstrated an increased cardiovascular risk in non-dipper as compared to dipper patients have relied on the prognostic significance of a single ABPM baseline profile from each participant without accounting for possible changes in the BP pattern during follow-up. Moreover, the potential benefit (i.e., reduction in cardiovascular risk) associated with the normalization of the circadian BP variability (conversion from non-dipper to dipper pattern) from an appropriately envisioned treatment strategy is still a matter of debate. Accordingly, the MAPEC (Monitorización Ambulatoria de la Presión Arterial y Eventos Cardiovasculares, i.e., Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring and Cardiovascular Events) study was designed to investigate whether the normalization of the circadian BP profile toward more of a dipper pattern by chronotherapeutic strategies (i.e., specific timing during the 24 h of BP-lowering medications according to the 24 h BP pattern) reduces cardiovascular risk. The prospective MAPEC study investigates 3,000 diurnally active men and women >/=18 yrs of age. At inclusion, BP and wrist activity are measured for 48 h. The initial evaluation also includes a detailed medical history, an electrocardiogram, and screening laboratory blood and urine tests. The same evaluation procedure is scheduled yearly or more frequently (quarterly) if treatment adjustment is required for BP control. Cardiovascular morbidity and mortality are thus evaluated on the basis of changes in BP during follow-up. The MAPEC study, now on its fourth year of follow-up, investigates the potential decrease in cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and renal risk from the proper modeling of the circadian BP profile by the timed administration (chronotherapy) of antihypertensive medication, beyond the reduction of clinic-determined daytime or ABPM-determined 24 h mean BP levels.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antihypertensive Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Blood Pressure Monitoring, Ambulatory*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Chronotherapy*
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / drug therapy*
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Registries
  • Risk Factors
  • Spain


  • Antihypertensive Agents