An evidence-based review of patient-centered behavioral interventions for hypertension

Am J Prev Med. 2001 Oct;21(3):221-32. doi: 10.1016/s0749-3797(01)00356-7.


Introduction: While behavioral interventions may be viewed as important strategies to improve blood pressure (BP), an evidence-based review of studies evaluating these interventions may help to guide clinical practice.

Methods: We employed systematic review and meta-analysis of the literature (1970-1999) to assess the independent and additive effects of three behavioral interventions on BP control (counseling, self-monitoring of BP, and structured training courses).

Results: Of 232 articles assessing behavioral interventions, 15 (4072 subjects) evaluated the effectiveness of patient-centered counseling, patient self-monitoring of BP, and structured training courses. Pooled results revealed that counseling was favored over usual care (3.2 mmHg [95% CI, 1.2-5.3] improvement in diastolic blood pressure [DBP] and 11.1 mmHg [95% CI, 4.1-18.1] improvement in systolic blood pressure [SBP]) and training courses (10 mmHg improvement in DBP [95% CI, 4.8-15.6]). Counseling plus training was favored over counseling (4.7 mmHg improvement in SBP [95% CI, 1.2-8.2]) and afforded more subjects hypertension control (95% [95% CI, 87-99]) than those receiving counseling (51% [95% CI, 34-66]) or training alone (64% [95% CI, 48-77]).

Conclusions: Evidence suggests that counseling offers BP improvement over usual care, and that adding structured training courses to counseling may further improve BP. However, there is not enough evidence to conclude whether self-monitoring of BP or training courses alone offer consistent improvement in BP over counseling or usual care. The magnitude of BP reduction offered by counseling indicates this may be an important adjunct to pharmacologic therapy.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Pressure Determination
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / prevention & control
  • Hypertension / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Patient Education as Topic / organization & administration
  • Self Care