JOURNAL ARTICLE

Twenty-four-hour ambulatory blood pressure in community-dwelling elderly men and women, aged 60-102 years

Cianán O'Sullivan, Joe Duggan, Neil Atkins, Eoin O'Brien
Journal of Hypertension 2003, 21 (9): 1641-7
12923395

OBJECTIVE: To investigate ambulatory blood pressure in elderly people, including 'old elderly' subjects, aged over 80 years.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional study of community-dwelling, elderly subjects.

METHODS: Subjects were healthy, self-caring, and living independently. Those who were taking medication affecting blood pressure were excluded. Conventional blood pressure was the mean of two measurements. Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring was performed using the SpaceLabs 90207 device. Daytime and night-time blood pressure were defined by fixed clock intervals.

RESULTS: Seventy-five 'young elderly', aged 60-79 years, (39 men, 36 women) and 81 'old elderly' aged 80 years and older (37 men, 44 women) underwent 24-h ambulatory blood pressure monitoring. Systolic blood pressure (SBP) was related to age, correlation coefficients between age and SBP were 0.31, 0.25 and 0.31, respectively, for conventional SBP, daytime SBP and night-time SBP (P < 0.01 for all). There was no correlation between age and diastolic blood pressure. Blood pressure levels were similar in men and women. Mean conventional blood pressure, daytime blood pressure and night-time blood pressure were found to be 149/81, 138/82 and 119/69 mmHg, respectively, in the 'young elderly' and 162/82, 147/83, and 133/71 mmHg, respectively, in the 'old elderly (P < 0.01 for SBP). The night : day SBP ratio was significantly higher in the 'old' elderly compared with the 'young' elderly (0.90 versus 0.86, respectively; P < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS: Ambulatory blood pressure levels in healthy, community-dwelling 'old elderly' are higher than those reported for younger adults and reflect the prominent age-related rise in SBP associated with advanced old age. Advanced old age is associated with a diminished nocturnal dip in blood pressure.

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