Association of Isolated Diastolic Hypertension as Defined by the 2017 ACC/AHA Blood Pressure Guideline With Incident Cardiovascular Outcomes

JAMA. 2020 Jan 28;323(4):329-338. doi: 10.1001/jama.2019.21402.


Importance: In the 2017 American College of Cardiology (ACC)/American Heart Association (AHA) guideline, the definition of hypertension was lowered from a blood pressure (BP) of greater than or equal to 140/90 to greater than or equal to 130/80 mm Hg. The new diastolic BP threshold of 80 mm Hg was recommended based on expert opinion and changes the definition of isolated diastolic hypertension (IDH).

Objective: To compare the prevalence of IDH in the United States, by 2017 ACC/AHA and 2003 Joint National Committee (JNC7) definitions, and to characterize cross-sectional and longitudinal associations of IDH with outcomes.

Design, setting, and participants: Cross-sectional analyses of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES 2013-2016) and longitudinal analyses of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study (baseline 1990-1992, with follow-up through December 31, 2017). Longitudinal results were validated in 2 external cohorts: (1) the NHANES III (1988-1994) and NHANES 1999-2014 and (2) the Give Us a Clue to Cancer and Heart Disease (CLUE) II cohort (baseline 1989).

Exposures: IDH, by 2017 ACC/AHA (systolic BP <130 mm Hg, diastolic BP ≥80 mm Hg) and by JNC7 (systolic BP <140 mm Hg, diastolic BP ≥90 mm Hg) definitions.

Main outcomes and measures: Weighted estimates for prevalence of IDH in US adults and prevalence of US adults recommended BP pharmacotherapy by the 2017 ACC/AHA guideline based solely on the presence of IDH. Risk of incident atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), heart failure (HF), and chronic kidney disease (CKD) in the ARIC Study.

Results: The study population included 9590 adults from the NHANES (mean [SD] baseline age, 49.6 [17.6] years; 5016 women [52.3%]) and 8703 adults from the ARIC Study (mean [SD] baseline age, 56.0 [5.6] years; 4977 women [57.2%]). The estimated prevalence of IDH in the NHANES was 6.5% by the 2017 ACC/AHA definition and 1.3% by the JNC7 definition (absolute difference, 5.2% [95% CI, 4.7%-5.7%]). Among those newly classified as having IDH, an estimated 0.6% (95% CI, 0.5%-0.6%) also met the guideline threshold for antihypertensive therapy. Compared with normotensive ARIC participants, IDH by the 2017 ACC/AHA definition was not significantly associated with incident ASCVD (n = 1386 events; median follow-up, 25.2 years; hazard ratio [HR], 1.06 [95% CI, 0.89-1.26]), HF (n = 1396 events; HR, 0.91 [95% CI, 0.76-1.09]), or CKD (n = 2433 events; HR, 0.98 [95% CI, 0.65-1.11]). Results were also null for cardiovascular mortality in the 2 external cohorts (eg, HRs of IDH by the 2017 ACC/AHA definition were 1.17 [95% CI, 0.87-1.56] in the NHANES [n = 1012 events] and 1.02 [95% CI, 0.92-1.14] in CLUE II [n = 1497 events]).

Conclusions and relevance: In this analysis of US adults, the estimated prevalence of IDH was more common when defined by the 2017 ACC/AHA BP guideline compared with the JNC7 guideline. However, IDH was not significantly associated with increased risk for cardiovascular outcomes.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • American Heart Association
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diastole
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / blood
  • Hypertension / complications
  • Hypertension / epidemiology*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Societies, Medical
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers