Objective: To provide updated, evidence-based recommendations for the diagnosis and assessment of adults with high blood pressure (BP).
Options and outcomes: For persons in whom a high BP value is recorded, the assignment of a diagnosis of hypertension is dependent on the appropriate measurement of BP, the level of the BP elevation and the duration of follow-up. In addition, the presence of cardiovascular risk factors and target organ damage should be assessed to determine the urgency, intensity and type of treatment. For persons diagnosed as having hypertension, estimating overall risk of adverse cardiovascular outcomes requires an assessment of other vascular risk factors and hypertensive target organ damage.
Evidence: MEDLINE searches were conducted from November 2003 to October 2004 to update the 2004 recommendations. Reference lists were scanned, experts were polled, and the personal files of the authors and subgroup members were used to identify other studies. Identified articles were reviewed and appraised using prespecified levels of evidence by content and methodological experts. As per previous years, only studies that had been published in the peer-reviewed literature were included; evidence from abstracts, conference presentations and unpublished personal communications was not included.
Recommendations: This document contains recommendations for BP measurement, diagnosis of hypertension and assessment of cardiovascular risk for adults with high BP. These include the accurate measurement of BP, criteria for diagnosis of hypertension, and recommendations for follow-up, assessment of overall cardiovascular risk, routine and optional laboratory testing, assessment for renovascular and endocrine causes, home and ambulatory BP monitoring, and the role of echocardiography for those with hypertension. Key features of the 2005 recommendations include an expedited diagnostic algorithm for hypertension and an endorsement of the use of home/self and ambulatory BP assessment as validated techniques in establishing the diagnosis of hypertension.
Validation: All recommendations were graded according to the strength of the evidence and voted on by the 43 members of the Canadian Hypertension Education Program Evidence-Based Recommendations Task Force. All recommendations reported in the present paper received at least 95% consensus. These guidelines will continue to be updated annually.