White coat hypertension is defined as elevated blood pressure in the office, but a normal blood pressure out-of-office, whereas masked hypertension is defined as elevated blood pressure in the office, but normal out-of-office blood pressure. The objective was to investigate the associations between these blood pressure phenotypes and carotid artery changes. Conventional blood pressure, ambulatory blood pressure, and carotid ultrasonography were evaluated in 851 Ohasama residents (31.8% men; mean age 66.3 years). The blood pressure phenotypes were defined by the ordinary thresholds (140/90 mmHg for conventional blood pressure, 135/85 mmHg for daytime blood pressure) and then by the 2017 American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) thresholds for hypertension (130/80 mmHg for both conventional and daytime blood pressure), irrespective of antihypertensive medication treatment status. Blood pressure phenotypes were linearly associated with the mean intima-media thickness of the carotid artery in ascending order for sustained normal blood pressure, white coat hypertension, masked hypertension, and sustained hypertension according to the ordinary thresholds and the 2017 ACC/AHA thresholds (both linear trends P < 0.0001) after adjustments for possible confounding factors. The odds ratios for the presence of carotid plaques showed similar linear trends with the blood pressure phenotypes according to the 2017 ACC/AHA thresholds (linear trend P < 0.0191). In conclusion, there was a close relationship between blood pressure phenotypes and carotid artery changes, suggesting that blood pressure phenotypes as defined by ambulatory blood pressure are potentially useful for risk stratification of carotid artery changes in the Japanese general population.
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