BACKGROUND: The prevalence of white-coat hypertension (WCH) is considerable in patients referred with elevated office blood pressure. Failure to recognise this phenomenon can lead to the inappropriate use of antihypertensive medications. We undertook this study to determine the profile of patients with WCH. METHODS: Baseline clinic and daytime ambulatory blood pressures were available from 5716 patients referred over a 22-year period. Individuals were considered to have WCH if they had an elevated clinic blood pressure measurement greater than 140/90 mmHg and normal daytime mean ambulatory blood pressure. Mean age was 53.6 years and 53.2% were female. RESULTS: The overall prevalence of white-coat hypertension was 15.4%. A higher prevalence was seen amongst older adults, females, and non-smokers. CONCLUSION: Multivariate logistic regression analysis confirmed these characteristics as independent predictors of WCH.