The impact of different types of shift work on blood pressure and hypertension: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Sara Gamboa Madeira, Carina Fernandes, Teresa Paiva, Carlos Santos Moreira, Daniel Caldeira

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Shift work (SW) encompasses 20% of the European workforce. Moreover, high blood pressure (BP) remains a leading cause of death globally. This review aimed to synthesize the magnitude of the potential impact of SW on systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP) and hypertension (HTN). MEDLINE, EMBASE and CENTRAL databases were searched for epidemiological studies evaluating BP and/or HTN diagnosis among shift workers, compared with day workers. Random-effects meta-analyses were performed and the results were expressed as pooled mean differences or odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI). The Newcastle–Ottawa Scale was used to assess the risk of bias. Forty-five studies were included, involving 117,252 workers. We found a significant increase in both SBD and DBP among permanent night workers (2.52 mmHg, 95% CI 0.75–4.29 and 1.76 mmHg, 95% CI 0.41–3.12, respectively). For rotational shift workers, both with and without night work, we found a significant increase but only for SBP (0.65 mmHg, 95% CI 0.07–1.22 and 1.28 mmHg, 95% CI 0.18–2.39, respectively). No differences were found for HTN. Our findings suggest that SW is associated with an increase of BP, mainly for permanent night workers and for SBP. This is of special interest given the large number of susceptible workers exposed over time.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6738
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021


  • Blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Night shift
  • Occupational health
  • Permanent shift
  • Rotating shift
  • Systematic review
  • Work schedule


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