Background: Masked hypertension has been associated with obesity. However, because most studies do not mention the specific cuff size used for home measurements, masked hypertension prevalence may have been overestimated in obese patients because of undersized cuffs. In this prospective, observational study, the effect of miscuffing on hypertension status was evaluated in patients with large arms.
Methods: Fifty-three patients with an upper-arm circumference >33cm, undergoing treatment for mild-to-moderate hypertension, took 2 sets of home blood pressure (BP) measurements (standard vs. large cuff) using the validated Microlife BP A100 Plus automated device.
Results: Mean BP was 143/85mm Hg at the office using a large cuff, 141/84mm Hg at home using a standard cuff, and 134/80mm Hg at home using a large cuff. Standard vs. large cuff home BP mean differences were 6.9mm Hg (95% confidence interval (CI) = 4.7-9.2; P < 0.0001) for systolic BP and 4.0mm Hg (95% CI = 2.4-5.5; P < 0.0001) for diastolic BP. Hypertension status differed significantly between standard vs. large cuffs: sustained hypertension (56.6% vs. 41.5%, respectively; P = 0.002), controlled hypertension (20.8% vs. 28.3%, respectively; P = 0.04), white coat hypertension (7.5% vs. 22.6%, respectively; P = 0.002), masked hypertension (15.1% vs. 7.5%, respectively; P = 0.04).
Conclusions: In patients with large arms, use of an appropriately sized large cuff for home BP measurements led to a 2-fold reduction in masked hypertension. Regarding clinical and epidemiological implications, future studies investigating masked hypertension should specify cuff size for home BP measurements. The low market availability and increased cost of large cuffs should also be addressed.
Keywords: blood pressure; blood pressure determination; cuff size; diagnostic errors; hypertension; isolated clinic hypertension; masked hypertension; obesity; white coat hypertension..