Diagnosis and management of resistant hypertension: state of the art

Nat Rev Nephrol. 2018 Jul;14(7):428-441. doi: 10.1038/s41581-018-0006-6.


Resistant hypertension is defined as a lack of ambulatory blood pressure response to optimized medical treatment after exclusion of secondary hypertension in patients who are fully adherent to antihypertensive therapy. Patients with resistant hypertension are at high risk of complications, particularly cardiovascular events, and optimization of medical treatment remains the cornerstone of their management. Such optimization should be based on simple algorithms and include the use of aldosterone antagonists. The available data from clinical trials do not support the use of device-based approaches such as renal denervation, baroreflex activation therapy or arteriovenous anastomosis for the treatment of resistant hypertension in the majority of patients. Therefore, device treatment remains a last-resort for patients with truly resistant hypertension in the context of clinical research in highly skilled tertiary referral centres. Future research should focus on improving understanding of the intrinsic (physiological and psychological factors) and extrinsic (environmental stressors) mechanisms that contribute to a lack of response to blood-pressure-lowering drugs in adherent patients. The use of biomarkers to identify patients with early target organ damage and new technologies, such as renal nerve stimulation, to predict blood pressure responses to renal denervation could aid the selection of patients who might benefit from device therapies.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amiloride / therapeutic use
  • Animals
  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Arteriovenous Shunt, Surgical
  • Baroreflex / physiology
  • Blood Pressure Determination
  • Carotid Arteries
  • Carotid Body / surgery
  • Coronary Vasospasm / diagnosis*
  • Coronary Vasospasm / epidemiology
  • Coronary Vasospasm / therapy*
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / methods*
  • Epithelial Sodium Channel Blockers / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / diagnosis*
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Hypertension / therapy*
  • Medication Adherence
  • Mineralocorticoid Receptor Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Pressoreceptors*
  • Renal Artery / innervation
  • Renal Artery / surgery
  • Spironolactone / therapeutic use
  • Sympathectomy*


  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Epithelial Sodium Channel Blockers
  • Mineralocorticoid Receptor Antagonists
  • Spironolactone
  • Amiloride

Supplementary concepts

  • Hypertension Resistant to Conventional Therapy