Delayed systolic blood pressure recovery following exercise as a mechanism of masked uncontrolled hypertension in chronic kidney disease

Rajiv Agarwal, Maria K. Pappas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background Among people treated for hypertension, the presence of elevated blood pressure (BP) out of the clinic but normal BP in the clinic is called masked uncontrolled hypertension (MUCH). What causes MUCH remains unknown. The purpose of this study was to answer the question of whether patients with MUCH have an increased hemodynamic reactivity to exercise and delayed hemodynamic recovery following exercise. Methods Four groups were compared: controlled hypertension (CH, n = 58), MUCH (n = 34) and uncontrolled hypertension (UCH, n = 12), all of which had chronic kidney disease (CKD), and a group of healthy normal volunteers who did not have hypertension or CKD (n = 16). All participants underwent assessment of 24-h ambulatory BP monitoring, BP measurement during a graded symptom-limited exercise using a cycle ergometer and BP recovery over 7 min following exercise. Results Exercise-induced increase in systolic BP was similar among the four groups. When compared with healthy controls, recovery of systolic BP following termination of exercise was blunted among the CKD groups in unadjusted (P < 0.0001) and adjusted (P < 0.001) models. During recovery, the healthy control group had 5.9% decline in systolic BP per minute. In contrast, MUCH had only 3.3% per minute reduction and the UCH group had 0.3% reduction per minute. A test of linear trend was significant (P = 0.002, adjusted model). Conclusion Because there was no impairment in the heart rate recovery among groups, we speculate that the parasympathetic pathway appears intact among treated hypertensives with CKD. However, the failure to withdraw sympathetic tone upon termination of exercise causes ongoing vasoconstriction and delayed systolic BP recovery providing a biological basis for MUCH. Delayed recovery from exercise-induced hypertension in those with poorly controlled BP provides potentially a new target to assure round-the-clock BP control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1710-1717
Number of pages8
JournalNephrology Dialysis Transplantation
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2017


  • ambulatory blood pressure monitoring
  • chronic kidney disease
  • exercise
  • recovery
  • systolic blood pressure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology
  • Transplantation

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