Microalbuminuria, an integrated marker of cardiovascular risk in essential hypertension

J Hum Hypertens. 2002 Feb;16(2):79-89. doi: 10.1038/sj.jhh.1001316.


This paper reviews the existing epidemiological and clinical evidence about the relationships of non-diabetic microalbuminuria with cardiovascular risk factors such as elevated blood pressure (BP), systolic particularly, cardiac hypertrophy, adverse metabolic status, smoking habits, elevated angiotensin II levels, endothelial dysfunction, acute and perhaps subclinical inflammation. Because of that unique property of reflecting the influence of so many clinically relevant parameters, microalbuminuria may legitimately be defined as an integrated marker of cardiovascular risk, an unique profile among the several prognostic predictors available to stratify risk in hypertensive patients. Recent cohort studies also showed associations with cardiovascular morbidity and mortality independently from conventional atherogenic factors. This behaviour, whose understanding still needs further elucidation, suggests to measure albuminuria and to screen patients at a higher absolute risk in whom preventive treatment is expected to be more beneficial than in those with a lower absolute risk.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Albuminuria / diagnosis
  • Albuminuria / epidemiology*
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology*
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Biomarkers