Objective: To provide updated, evidence-based recommendations for the management of hypertension in adults.
Options and outcomes: For patients who require pharmacological therapy for hypertension, a number of antihypertensive agents may be used. Randomized trials evaluating first-line therapy with diuretics, beta-blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, calcium channel blockers (CCBs), alpha-blockers, centrally acting agents or angiotensin receptor antagonists were reviewed. Also, randomized trials evaluating other agents, such as statins or acetylsalicylic acid, in patients with hypertension were reviewed. Changes in cardiovascular morbidity and mortality were the primary outcomes of interest. In addition, other relevant outcomes such as development of end-stage renal disease or changes in blood pressure were examined where appropriate.
Evidence: MEDLINE searches were conducted from November 2001 to October 2003 to update the 2001 Recommendations for the management of hypertension. Reference lists were scanned, experts were contacted, and the personal files of the subgroup members and authors were used to identify additional published studies. All relevant articles were reviewed and appraised independently, using prespecified levels of evidence by content and methodology experts.
Recommendations: This document contains detailed recommendations and supporting evidence on treatment thresholds, target blood pressures and choice of agents for hypertensive patients with or without comorbidities. Lifestyle modifications are a key component of any antiatherosclerotic management strategy and detailed recommendations are contained in a separate document. Key recommendations for pharmacotherapy include the following: treatment thresholds and targets should take into account each individual's global atherosclerotic risk, target organ damage and comorbidities, with particular attention to systolic blood pressure; blood pressure should be lowered to 140/90 mmHg or less in all patients, and 130/80 mmHg or less in those with diabetes mellitus or renal disease (125/75 mmHg or less in those with nondiabetic renal disease and more than 1 g of proteinuria per day); most adults with hypertension require more than one agent to achieve target blood pressures; for adults without compelling indications for other agents, initial therapy should include thiazide diuretics; other agents appropriate for first-line therapy for diastolic hypertension with or without systolic hypertension include beta-blockers (in those younger than 60 years), ACE inhibitors (in non-Blacks), long-acting dihydropyridine CCBs or angiotensin receptor antagonists; other agents appropriate for first-line therapy for isolated systolic hypertension include long-acting dihydropyridine CCBs or angiotensin receptor antagonists; certain comorbidities provide compelling indications for first-line use of other agents: in patients with angina, recent myocardial infarction or heart failure, beta-blockers and ACE inhibitors are recommended as first-line therapy; in patients with diabetes mellitus, ACE inhibitors or angiotensin receptor antagonists (or thiazides in patients with diabetes mellitus without albuminuria) are appropriate first-line therapies; and in patients with mild to moderate nondiabetic renal disease, ACE inhibitors are recommended; all hypertensive patients should have their fasting lipids screened and those with dyslipidemia should be treated using the thresholds, targets and agents as per the Recommendations for the management of dyslipidemia and the prevention of cardiovascular disease; and selected patients with hypertension should also receive statin and/or acetylsalicylic acid therapy.
Validation: All recommendations were graded according to the strength of the evidence and voted on by the Canadian Hypertension Education Program Evidence-Based Recommendations Task Force. Individuals with irreconcilable competing interests (declared by all members, compiled and circulated before the meeting) relative to any specific recommendation were excluded from voting on that recommendation. Only recommendations achieving at least 70% consensus are reported here. These guidelines will continue to be updated annually.