Background: The strength of the association between obstructive sleep apnea-hypopnea syndrome (OSAHS) and systemic hypertension could be affected by methodologic problems in the definition of hypertension.
Study objectives: To determine the frequency of white coat hypertension (WCH) in patients with OSAHS, and to analyze the characteristics of patients with OSASH and WCH.
Patients and interventions: Ninety-nine consecutive patients with OSAHS and 20 healthy control subjects were included into the study. Twenty-four-hour ambulatory BP monitoring (ABPM) and urinary catecholamines were determined simultaneously with the polysomnographic study. Arterial blood gases and lung volumes were also measured.
Results: Office hypertension was diagnosed in 45 patients, while the control group included 54 normotensive patients with OSAHS. After ABPM, hypertension was confirmed in 30 patients with OSAHS and office hypertension. WCH was diagnosed in the remaining 15 patients (33%). Patients with WCH presented higher values of sleep onset latency and wake after sleep onset than normotensive and sustained hypertensive patients. No other differences in sleep parameters, function tests, or urinary catecholamines were found between the OSAHS groups.
Conclusion: The results indicate that WCH is a frequent phenomenon in patients with OSAHS, and that it is not predictable by clinical variables.