Background: The clinical relevance of ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) for risk stratification in renal transplant patients still remains poorly defined.
Methods: We investigated the association between clinic and ABPM with an established biomarker of atherosclerosis (intima-media thickness [IMT] by echo-color Doppler) in a large, inclusive survey (n = 172) in renal transplant patients at a single institution.
Results: Forty-two patients (24%) were classified as hypertensive by ABPM criteria and 29 (17%) by clinic blood pressure (BP) criteria. Average daytime and nighttime BP was 126 ± 12/78 ± 9 mm Hg and 123 ± 13/74 ± 10 mm Hg, respectively. Forty-five patients (26%) were classified as hypertensive by the daytime criterion (>135/85 mm Hg) and a much higher proportion (n = 119, 69%) by the nighttime criterion (>120/70 mm Hg). Sixty-two patients (36%) had a night-day ratio of 1 or greater, indicating clear-cut nondipping. The average nighttime systolic BP (r = 0.24, P = 0.001) and the night-day systolic BP ratio (r = 0.23, P = 0.002) were directly related to IMT, and these associations were much more robust than the 24-hour systolic BP-IMT relationship (r = 0.16, P = 0.04). Average daytime BP and clinic B were unrelated to IMT. In a multiple regression analysis adjusting for confounders, the night-day systolic BP ratio maintained an independent association with IMT (β = 0.14, P = 0.04).
Conclusions: In renal transplant patients, the prevalence of nocturnal hypertension by far exceeds the prevalence of hypertension as assessed by clinic, daytime, and 24-hour ABPM. Nighttime systolic BP and the night-day ratio but no other BP metrics are independently associated with IMT. Blood pressure during nighttime may provide unique information for the assessment of cardiovascular risk attributable to BP burden in renal transplant patients.