May 15, 2018 – Masked High Blood Pressure


Anchor lead: High blood pressure may escape detection in the doctor’s office but be very risky, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Masked hypertension describes the case where a person’s blood pressure is normal while in a physician’s office, but is high elsewhere. A recent very large study in Spain using 24 hour ambulatory blood pressure measurements identified this group who had previously gone undetected. Seth Martin, a cardiologist at Johns Hopkins, says strokes and heart disease may occur most often among this group.

Martin: This masked hypertension group did surprise me that this group was very high risk. This is a group where in clinic you miss the high blood pressure, you find a normal blood pressure in clinic but in fact if you were to look at their blood pressures over time outside clinic they have high blood pressure. I think this requires further study but clearly this should be signaling to us that we need to pay more attention to this group and really this shows the value of getting these blood pressures outside of clinic because we miss these people if we don’t.  :31

Martin believes this study will change practice so that measuring blood pressure over 24 hours will be much more common. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.