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BACKGROUND: The clinical and epidemiological implications of using ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) for the diagnosis of hypertension have not been studied at a population level in sub-Saharan Africa. We examined the impact of ABPM use among Kenyan adults. METHODS AND RESULTS: We performed a nested case-control study of diagnostic accuracy. We selected an age-stratified random sample of 1248 adults from the list of residents of the Kilifi Health and Demographic Surveillance System in Kenya. All participants underwent a screening blood pressure (BP) measurement. All those with screening BP ≥140/90 mm Hg and a random subset of those with screening BP <140/90 mm Hg were invited to undergo ABPM. Based on the 2 tests, participants were categorized as sustained hypertensive, masked hypertensive, "white coat" hypertensive, or normotensive. Analyses were weighted by the probability of undergoing ABPM. Screening BP ≥140/90 mm Hg was present in 359 of 986 participants, translating to a crude population prevalence of 23.1% (95% CI 16.5-31.5%). Age standardized prevalence of screening BP ≥140/90 mm Hg was 26.5% (95% CI 19.3-35.6%). On ABPM, 186 of 415 participants were confirmed to be hypertensive, with crude prevalence of 15.6% (95% CI 9.4-23.1%) and age-standardized prevalence of 17.1% (95% CI 11.0-24.4%). Age-standardized prevalence of masked and white coat hypertension were 7.6% (95% CI 2.8-13.7%) and 3.8% (95% CI 1.7-6.1%), respectively. The sensitivity and specificity of screening BP measurements were 80% (95% CI 73-86%) and 84% (95% CI 79-88%), respectively. BP indices and validity measures showed strong age-related trends. CONCLUSIONS: Screening BP measurement significantly overestimated hypertension prevalence while failing to identify ≈50% of true hypertension diagnosed by ABPM. Our findings suggest significant clinical and epidemiological benefits of ABPM use for diagnosing hypertension in Kenyan adults.

Original publication




Journal article


J Am Heart Assoc

Publication Date





ambulatory blood pressure monitoring, diagnostic accuracy, hypertension, masked hypertension, sub‐Saharan Africa, white coat hypertension, Age Distribution, Blood Pressure Monitoring, Ambulatory, Case-Control Studies, Early Diagnosis, Female, Humans, Hypertension, Kenya, Male, Middle Aged, Prevalence