MUNICH –The “overwhelming impression” that Paul K. Whelton, MD, has of the newly revised hypertension diagnosis and management guidelines of the European Society of Cardiology is their similarity to hypertension guidelines released by the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association in November 2017.
The video associated with this article is no longer available on this site. Please view all of our videos on the MDedge YouTube channel.
“We both recommend the same treatment target, of less than 130/80 mm Hg,” noted Dr. Whelton, professor at Tulane University in New Orleans, although the European guidelines (Euro J Cardiology. 2018 Sep 1; 39:3021-104) put more qualifications on this target and specify treating to no lower than 130 mm Hg systolic pressure in patients who are at least 65 years old as well as in patients with chronic kidney disease at any age. In a video interview, Dr. Whelton also cited areas of disagreement, such as how patients with an untreated blood pressure of 130-139 mm Hg are classified (high normal in the European guidelines, stage 1 hypertension in the U.S. guidelines), and whether initial drug monotherapy is a reasonable treatment strategy (U.S. says yes, Europe says no).
Dr. Whelton noted that recent modeling studies have documented the potential public health benefits from following the diagnosis and management approaches set forth in the 2017 U.S. guidelines (J Am Coll Cardiol. 2018 May;71:e127-e248). For example, an analysis based on data collected by the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey during 2013-2016 showed that following the 2017 guidelines for diagnosing and treating hypertension would have resulted in prevention of more than twice the number of cardiovascular disease events nationally as compared with application of the prior, 2014 U.S. hypertension guideline (JAMA. 2014 Feb 5;311:507-20): 610,000 events prevented, compared with 270,000 events prevented. The same study showed that the 2017 guidelines would have nearly doubled the number of all-cause deaths prevented, with 334,000 deaths prevented, compared with 177,000 prevented by applying the 2014 guidelines (JAMA Cardiology. 2018 July;3:572-81).