Resistant Hypertension: Diagnosis, Evaluation, and Treatment A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association Professional Education Committee of the Council for High Blood Pressure Research

Hypertension (Impact Factor: 6.48). 06/2008; 51(6):1403-19. DOI: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.108.189141
Source: PubMed


Resistant hypertension is a common clinical problem faced by both primary care clinicians and specialists. While the exact prevalence of resistant hypertension is unknown, clinical trials suggest that it is not rare, involving perhaps 20% to 30% of study participants. As older age and obesity are 2 of the strongest risk factors for uncontrolled hypertension, the incidence of resistant hypertension will likely increase as the population becomes more elderly and heavier. The prognosis of resistant hypertension is unknown, but cardiovascular risk is undoubtedly increased as patients often have a history of long-standing, severe hypertension complicated by multiple other cardiovascular risk factors such as obesity, sleep apnea, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease. The diagnosis of resistant hypertension requires use of good blood pressure technique to confirm persistently elevated blood pressure levels. Pseudoresistance, including lack of blood pressure control secondary to poor medication adherence or white coat hypertension, must be excluded. Resistant hypertension is almost always multifactorial in etiology. Successful treatment requires identification and reversal of lifestyle factors contributing to treatment resistance; diagnosis and appropriate treatment of secondary causes of hypertension; and use of effective multidrug regimens. As a subgroup, patients with resistant hypertension have not been widely studied. Observational assessments have allowed for identification of demographic and lifestyle characteristics associated with resistant hypertension, and the role of secondary causes of hypertension in promoting treatment resistance is well documented; however, identification of broader mechanisms of treatment resistance is lacking. In particular, attempts to elucidate potential genetic causes of resistant hypertension have been limited. Recommendations for the pharmacological treatment of resistant hypertension remain largely empiric due to the lack of systematic assessments of 3 or 4 drug combinations. Studies of resistant hypertension are limited by the high cardiovascular risk of patients within this subgroup, which generally precludes safe withdrawal of medications; the presence of multiple disease processes (eg, sleep apnea, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, atherosclerotic disease) and their associated medical therapies, which confound interpretation of study results; and the difficulty in enrolling large numbers of study participants. Expanding our understanding of the causes of resistant hypertension and thereby potentially allowing for more effective prevention and/or treatment will be essential to improve the long-term clinical management of this disorder.

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Available from: Bonita Falkner, Aug 24, 2015
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    • "Hypertension, as an independent predisposing factor for heart failure, coronary artery disease, stroke, renal disease, and peripheral arterial disease, is associated with serious morbidity and mortality [64]. Evaluation of possible resistant hypertension begins with an assessment of adherence to medications. "
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    • "Furthermore studies have shown diabetes to be associated with resistant hypertension [1,8,12] but we could not find any association in our study. This could be due to only a small difference in HbA1c between these two groups, where the mean HbA1c was 7.9 ± 2.0% among patients with resistant hypertension versus HbA1c of 7.5 ± 1.7% in patients without resistant hypertension, p = 0.139). "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Patients with resistant hypertension are subjected to a higher risk of getting stroke, myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure and renal failure. However, the exact prevalence of resistant hypertension in treated hypertensive patients in Malaysia is not known. This paper examines the prevalence and determinants of resistant hypertension in a sample of hypertensive patients. Methods We examined the control of blood pressure in a randomly selected sample of patients with hypertension in a primary care clinic. Demographic data, blood pressure and anti-hypertensive drug use were captured from patient records at the end of 2007. Resistant hypertension is defined as failure to achieve target blood pressure of < 140/90 mmHg while on full doses of an appropriate three-drug regimen that includes a diuretic. Multivariate logistic regression was used for the analysis. Results A total of 1217 patients with hypertension were entered into the analysis. Mean age of the patients was 66.8 ± 9.7 years and 64.4% were female. More than half of the subjects (56.9%) had diabetes mellitus. Median BP was 130/80 mmHg. Overall prevalence of resistant hypertension was 8.8% (N = 107/1217). In multivariate logistic regression analysis, presence of chronic kidney disease is more likely to be associated with resistant hypertension (odds ratio [OR] 2.89, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.56-5.35). On the other hand, increase per year of age is associated with lower odds of resistant hypertension in this population (OR 0.96, 95% CI 0.93-0.99). Conclusions Resistant hypertension is present in nearly one in ten hypertensive patients on treatment. Hypertensive patients who have underlying chronic kidney disease are associated with higher odds of having resistant hypertension. Hence, in managing patients with hypertension, primary care physicians should be more alert and identify patients with chronic kidney disease as such patients are more likely to develop resistant hypertension. By doing that, these patients can be treated more aggressively earlier in order to achieve blood pressure target and thus reduce cardiovascular events.
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    • "Resistant hypertension (RH) refers broadly to high blood pressure that is resistant to pharmacologic therapy. Although the etiology of resistant hypertension is almost always multifactorial, aldosterone excess has been shown to contribute importantly to the development of RH [1]. There is evidence that aldosterone can promote endothelial dysfunction and induce vascular inflammation, vascular and myocardial fibrosis, and myocardial ischemia [2–4]. "
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