The Misdiagnosis of Hypertension The Role of Patient Anxiety
ABSTRACT The white coat effect (defined as the difference between blood pressure [BP] measurements taken at the physician's office and those taken outside the office) is an important determinant of misdiagnosis of hypertension, but little is known about the mechanisms underlying this phenomenon. We tested the hypothesis that the white coat effect may be a conditioned response as opposed to a manifestation of general anxiety.
A total of 238 patients in a hypertension clinic wore ambulatory blood pressure monitors on 3 separate days 1 month apart. At each clinic visit, BP readings were manually triggered in the waiting area and the examination room (in the presence and absence of the physician) and were compared with the mercury sphygmomanometer readings taken by the physician in the examination room. Patients completed trait and state anxiety measures before and after each BP assessment.
A total of 35% of the sample was normotensive, and 9%, 37%, and 19% had white coat, sustained, and masked hypertension, respectively. The diagnostic category was associated with the state anxiety measure (F(3,237) = 6.4, P < .001) but not with the trait anxiety measure. Patients with white coat hypertension had significantly higher state anxiety scores (t = 2.67, P < .01), with the greatest difference reported during the physician measurement. The same pattern was observed for BP changes, which generally paralleled the changes in state anxiety (t = 4.86, P < .002 for systolic BP; t = 3.51, P < .002 for diastolic BP).
These findings support our hypothesis that the white coat effect is a conditioned response. The BP measurements taken by physicians appear to exacerbate the white coat effect more than other means. This problem could be addressed with uniform use of automated BP devices in office settings.
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ABSTRACT: Epidemiological studies have repeatedly investigated the association between anxiety and hypertension. However, the results have been inconsistent. This study aimed to summarize the current evidence from cross-sectional and prospective studies that evaluated this association. Seven common databases were searched for articles published up to November 2014. Cross-sectional and prospective studies that reported an association between the two conditions in adults were included. Data on prevalence, incidence, unadjusted or adjusted odds ratios or hazard ratios, and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were extracted or calculated by the authors. The pooled odds ratio was calculated separately for cross-sectional and prospective studies using random-effects models. The Q test and I2 statistic was used to assess heterogeneity. A funnel plot and modified Egger linear regression test were used to estimate publication bias. The search yielded 13 cross-sectional studies (n=151,389), and the final pooled odds ratio was 1.18 (95% CI 1.02-1.37; P Q<0.001; I (2)=84.9%). Eight prospective studies with a total sample size of 80,146 and 2,394 hypertension case subjects, and the pooled adjusted hazard ratio was 1.55 (95% CI 1.24-1.94; P Q<0.001; I (2)=84.6%). The meta-regression showed that location, diagnostic criteria for anxiety, age, sex, sample size, year of publication, quality, and years of follow-up (for prospective study) were not sources of heterogeneity. Our results suggest that there is an association between anxiety and increased risk of hypertension. These results support early detection and management of anxiety in hypertensive patients.Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment 01/2015; 11:1121. DOI:10.2147/NDT.S77710 · 2.15 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: This study aimed to determine blood pressure characteristics and long-term progress in patients with white coat hypertension (WCH) and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) and sleep test results over a period of 26 months were analyzed from WCH patients with OSA (n = 28), WCH patients (n = 23), and healthy control subjects (n = 27). At the end of observation, WCH patients with OSA presented significantly increased daytime and nighttime BP and lower diurnal difference of SBP (all Ps < 0.05) and the increased rate of "non-dipper" status (SBP 28.6 %, DBP 32.1 %) was significantly higher when compared with WCH and control groups (all Ps < 0.01). Sustained hypertension was observed in 42.8 % of the WCH patients with OSA, which was significantly higher than that in the WCH and control groups (Ps < 0.01) and was predicted by non-dipper status via 24-h ambulatory SBP/DBP monitoring (Ps < 0.05). WCH may represent a prehypertension status, which could develop into sustained hypertension with OSA.Sleep And Breathing 02/2015; DOI:10.1007/s11325-015-1137-7 · 2.87 Impact Factor
Article: Speaking for MyselfMilton Quarterly 12/2011; 45(4):267 - 270. DOI:10.1111/j.1094-348X.2011.00307.x