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White coat hypertension: improving the patient–health care practitioner relationship

Authors Cobos B, Haskard-Zolnierek K, Howard K

Received 30 November 2014

Accepted for publication 20 February 2015

Published 2 May 2015 Volume 2015:8 Pages 133—141


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Igor Elman

Briana Cobos, Kelly Haskard-Zolnierek, Krista Howard

Department of Psychology, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX, USA

Abstract: White coat hypertension is characterized by the variability of a patient's blood pressure measurements between the physician’s office and the patient’s home environment. A patient with white coat hypertension has high blood pressure levels in the physician's office and normal blood pressure levels in their typical environment. This condition is likely caused by the patient’s anxiety within the physician’s office and in the presence of the physician. Research has shown that improving the relationship between a patient and their health care provider can decrease the patient’s anxiety, with the implication of decreasing the patient’s likelihood of demonstrating white coat hypertension. This review provides an overview of the previous literature regarding white coat hypertension, its prevalence, and the consequences for those who develop persistent hypertension. Furthermore, this review discusses the implications of improving patient and health care provider interactions through effective communication, empathy, and trust, as well as the implications for future research studies in improving the patient and health care provider’s relationship.

Keywords: white coat hypertension, anxiety, health care professional–patient relationship, physician–patient communication

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