Masked hypertension: evidence of the need to treat

Curr Hypertens Rep. 2010 Oct;12(5):349-55. doi: 10.1007/s11906-010-0140-4.


The diagnosis of masked hypertension has been made easier with the widespread availability of home blood pressure monitoring devices with levels of accuracy comparable to ambulatory blood pressure monitoring. The negative impact of masked hypertension on cardiovascular morbidity and mortality is evidenced by numerous well-designed clinic-based and population-based studies. The relationship of masked hypertension and target organ damage is also well documented. These two factors, combined with the robust evidence of reduced cardiovascular morbidity and mortality achieved with blood pressure treatment, makes the argument for actively identifying patients with masked hypertension and prescribing treatment similar to that for patients with sustained hypertension. In this paper, we review the evidence for the cardiovascular prognosis of masked hypertension compared with sustained hypertension, we review its impact on target organ damage, we propose an algorithm for the treatment of patients with masked hypertension, and we point out the pitfalls in adopting such an approach.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Algorithms
  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Blood Pressure Monitoring, Ambulatory*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Child
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / complications
  • Hypertension / diagnosis*
  • Hypertension / epidemiology*
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Hypertension / therapy*
  • Observer Variation
  • Risk Assessment
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antihypertensive Agents