A hypertension emergency department intervention aimed at decreasing disparities: Design of a randomized clinical trial

Contemp Clin Trials. 2018 Jan:64:1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2017.11.009. Epub 2017 Nov 8.


Effective interventions to identify and treat uncontrolled hypertension (HTN), particularly in underrepresented populations that use the emergency department (ED) for primary care, are critically needed. Uncontrolled HTN contributes significantly to cardiovascular morbidity and mortality and is more frequently encountered among patients presenting to the ED as compared to the primary care setting. EDs serve as the point of entry into the health care system for high-risk patient populations, including minority and low-income patients. Previous studies have demonstrated that the prevalence of uncontrolled/undiagnosed HTN in patients presenting to the ED is alarmingly high. Thus ED engagement and early risk assessment/stratification is a feasible innovation to help close health disparity gaps in HTN. A Hypertension Emergency Department Intervention Aimed at Decreasing Disparities (AHEAD2) trial, funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) is a three-arm single site randomized clinical pilot trial of adults presenting to the ED with Stage 2 hypertension (blood pressure [BP]>160/100) comparing (1) an ED-initiated Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral for Treatment (SBIRT) focused on HTN, (2) the same ED-initiated SBIRT coupled with a Post-Acute Care Hypertension Transition Consultation by ED Clinical Pharmacists, and (3) usual care. The primary outcome is mean BP differences between study arms. Secondary outcomes are proportion of participants with BP control (BP<140/90mmHg), and improvements in HTN knowledge and medication adherence scores between study arms. The objective of this report is to describe the development of the AHEAD2 trial, including the methods, research infrastructure, and other features of the randomized clinical trial design.

Keywords: Emergency department; Health disparities; Minorities; Randomized control trial; Uncontrolled hypertension.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Blood Pressure
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Status Disparities*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / diagnosis*
  • Hypertension / drug therapy
  • Hypertension / ethnology*
  • Male
  • Medication Adherence
  • Middle Aged
  • Minority Groups*
  • Primary Health Care
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors


  • Antihypertensive Agents