The aim of the present study was to perform a meta-analysis of published studies in an attempt to determine the mean and range of normal ambulatory blood pressure. Twenty-two studies, including a total of 2638 subjects, were reviewed. Most studies were compatible with a mean 24-h ambulatory pressure in the range of 115/70-120/75 mmHg, a mean daytime pressure of 120/75-125/80 mmHg and a mean night-time pressure of 105/60-110/65 mmHg. With weighting for the number of subjects included in the individual studies, the 24-h ambulatory pressure averaged 117/72 mmHg, the daytime pressure 122/77 mmHg and the night-time pressure 106/64 mmHg. The night:day pressure ratio averaged 0.87 for systolic and 0.83 for diastolic pressure, ranging from 0.79 to 0.92 and from 0.75 to 0.90, respectively, across the individual studies. With the mean +/- 2 standard deviation intervals in the various studies taken as normal, the range of normality averaged 97/57-137/87 mmHg over 24 h, 101/62-143/91 mmHg for the daytime pressure and 86/48-127/79 mmHg for the night-time pressure. Until the results of prospective studies on the relationship between ambulatory blood pressure and the incidence of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality become available, these estimates of normal ambulatory pressure could be applied as reference values in clinical practice.