The Harms of Masked Hypertension in CKD

Masked hypertension may increase complication risk in chronic kidney disease patients

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Masked hypertension might sound like an odd sort of Halloween costume, but it's actually pretty serious stuff.

When patients have both masked hypertension and chronic kidney disease (CKD), it can be a double whammy. A new study from the University of Minnesota (UM) found that patients who had both CKD and masked hypertension had increased risks of heart, kidney and blood vessel damage.

Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure, a condition that isn't always easy to detect. Many patients see their doctors fewer than twice per year, and those are the only times their blood pressure is checked.

Some patients have "white coat syndrome," or blood pressure readings that are only high in the doctor's office. These patients shouldn't be treated for high blood pressure because most of the time their readings are normal.

Others have the opposite condition called masked hypertension. Patients with this condition actually do have high blood pressure, but their readings in the doctor's office are normal.

Previous research has looked at masked hypertension in patients with normal kidney function, but this is the first study to look at the condition in patients with CKD.

Paul Drawz, MD, led this study of 1,492 men and women. Dr. Drawz is a nephrologist and assistant professor of medicine at UM.

Researchers looked at data from a larger study called the Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort (CRIC). All patients in this study had been diagnosed with CKD.

Dr. Drawz and team found that almost 28 percent of these patients had both CKD and masked hypertension.

CKD patients are already at risk for serious problems like kidney failure. Masked hypertension was found to increase the risk for kidney, heart and blood vessel damage even further in these patients.

"Our findings support the recommendations that patients check their blood pressure outside the usual doctor's office setting, either by 24-hour blood pressure monitoring as done in our study, or by monitoring blood pressure at home," Dr. Drawz said, in a press release. "Of course, patients should discuss their blood pressure and its treatment with their doctor."

This study was published Feb. 18 in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Information on funding sources was not available at the time of publication. No conflicts of interest were disclosed.

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Review Date: 
February 22, 2016
Last Updated:
February 22, 2016