Background: There are numerous hypertension consensus recommendations intended for practising physicians. However, recommendations in their current format have limited impact on improving hypertension control.
Materials and methods: A group of national societies, headed by the Canadian Hypertension Society, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, the Canadian Coalition for High Blood Pressure Prevention and Control, and Health Canada has developed strategies to maintain annually updated recommendations for hypertension management and to provide greater opportunities for their implementation into clinical practice. The process is overseen by a steering committee. Subcommittees have been formed for each of a list of topics seen as important to the control of hypertension. The subcommittees, with the aid of a central librarian, conduct annual literature reviews in accordance with Cochrane Collaboration strategies. Modified existing and new recommendations are forwarded to a group with expertise in clinical epidemiology. Grades of evidence are assigned to each recommendation. Revised recommendations based on the above process will be presented annually at the conjoint Canadian Hypertension Society/Canadian Cardiovascular Congress meeting. Under the leadership of the Cardiovascular Disease Division of the Laboratory Centre for Disease Control, Health Canada, a committee has been charged with the implementation process.
Conclusions: The improvements of the current process over previous national hypertension recommendations are four-fold. First, the recommendations will be updated annually. Second, the methodology has been improved. Third, the grading system can be used in the evaluation of complex study designs. Finally, the implementation process is extended. The authors are optimistic that these changes will contribute to the improvement of hypertension control in the Canadian population.