Franz Volhard lecture: should doctors still measure blood pressure? The missing patients with masked hypertension

J Hypertens. 2008 Dec;26(12):2259-67. doi: 10.1097/HJH.0b013e32831313c4.


The traditional reliance on blood pressure (BP) measurement in the medical setting misses a significant number of individuals with masked hypertension, who have normal clinic BP but persistently high daytime BP when measured out of the office. We suggest that masked hypertension may be a precursor of clinically recognized sustained hypertension and is associated with increased cardiovascular risk compared with consistent normotension. We discuss factors that may contribute to clinic-daytime BP differences as well as the changing relationship between these two measures over time. Anxiety at the time of BP measurement and having been diagnosed as hypertensive appear to be two possible mechanisms. The identification of individuals with masked hypertension is of great clinical importance and requires out-of-office BP screening. Ambulatory BP monitoring is the best established technique for doing this, but home monitoring may be applicable in the future.

Publication types

  • Lecture
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Blood Pressure Determination / methods
  • Blood Pressure Monitoring, Ambulatory
  • Blood Pressure* / physiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / complications
  • Hypertension / diagnosis*
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Physical Examination / methods*
  • Risk Factors