White coat effect in treated and untreated patients with high office blood pressure. Relationship with pulse wave velocity and left ventricular mass index

Albino Silveira, Anabela Mesquita, João Maldonado, José Alberto Silva, Jorge Polónia
Portuguese Journal of Cardiology: An Official Journal of the Portuguese Society of Cardiology 2002, 21 (5): 517-30

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate in hypertensive patients whether the white coat effect is associated with target-organ damage and whether it is modified by anti-hypertensive therapy.

METHODS: In a cross-sectional study we evaluated blood pressure (BP) measured in the office and by 24-h ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM), carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (PWV) as an index of aortic stiffness, and left ventricular mass index (LVMI) in 88 subjects (aged 49 +/- 2 years) with white-coat hypertension (WCH, office BP > 140/90, daytime BP < 130/84 mmHg), 31 under antihypertensive therapy, 57 untreated, and in 115 patients with office and ambulatory hypertension (HT, aged 51 +/- 2 years, office BP > 140/90, daytime BP > 135/85), 65 under antihypertensive therapy, 50 untreated. In a longitudinal study in 15 patients with HT and in 11 patients with WCH we evaluated the influence of antihypertensive therapy (> 6 months) on office and ambulatory BP and on PWV.

RESULTS: The intensity of the white coat effect (office BP-daytime BP) was greater in WCH than in HT. Taking all subjects, the white coat effect did not correlate with PWV (r = 0.08, ns) or with LVMI (r = 0.01, ns), whereas daytime BP correlated significantly with PWV (r = 0.41, p < 0.01) and with LVMI (r = 0.32, p < 0.05). WCH subjects showed lower PWV and LVMI than HT subjects. Treated and untreated WCH, with similar office and daytime BP, showed similar values of PWV and LVMI. Treated and untreated HT showed similar office BP values but treated HT showed lower daytime BP and PWV values. In the longitudinal study, antihypertensive therapy significantly reduced daytime BP and PWV values in the 15 HTs, whereas in the 11 WCH it did not alter daytime BP or PWV values.

CONCLUSIONS: 1. In both WCH and HT (treated and untreated) the intensity of the white coat effect does not reflect either the severity of hypertension measured by target organ damage or the efficacy of antihypertensive treatment. 2. In WCH antihypertensive therapy does not improve either ambulatory BP values or damage to target organs.

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