Cardiovascular and renal surrogate markers in the clinical management of hypertension

Cardiovasc Drugs Ther. 2009 Aug;23(4):317-26. doi: 10.1007/s10557-009-6177-4.


Introduction: Surrogate markers represent a significant contribution to early diagnosis, longitudinal prognoses, and outcome prediction in cases of hypertension. They often enable detection of disease and disease potential when the disease is still subclinical and are useful noninvasive tools for designing and evaluating therapeutic programs. Surrogate markers are increasingly employed as predictive endpoints for treatment.

Methods: Key studies supporting the importance of surrogate markers as diagnostic and prognostic predictors of cardiovascular and renal clinical outcomes in hypertension, as well as what is known about the effects of renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system-blocking agents on these biomarkers were reviewed.

Results: Clinical data supporting the use of surrogate markers for heart failure, such as brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) and N-terminal prohormone BNP; markers for renal function, such as urinary albumin to creatinine ratio (UACR), urinary albumin excretion rates (UAER), and creatinine, reflecting glomerular filtration; and markers of cardiac remodeling, such as left ventricular hypertrophy and calculations of left ventricular mass index (LVMI), were reviewed for their utility in improving prognosis and treatment efficacy. Finally, hypertension treatment with angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, and potentially direct renin inhibitors can significantly improve outcomes predicted by surrogate markers.

Conclusions: BNP, UACR, UAER, and LVMI, among others, have been increasingly established as valid surrogate markers with significant value for hypertension prognosis and therapy. The benefits of using surrogate markers to gauge the effectiveness of hypertension therapy in reducing renal and cardiac complications can be seen in improved morbidity and mortality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / diagnosis
  • Hypertension / drug therapy
  • Hypertension / physiopathology*
  • Kidney Diseases / etiology
  • Kidney Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Prognosis
  • Renin-Angiotensin System


  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Biomarkers