The lowest well tolerated blood pressure: A personalized target for all?

Eur J Intern Med. 2024 May:123:42-48. doi: 10.1016/j.ejim.2024.01.025. Epub 2024 Jan 26.


The optimal blood pressure (BP) target for prevention of cardiovascular complications of hypertension remains uncertain. Most Guidelines suggest different targets depending on age, comorbidities and treatment tolerability, but the underlying evidence is not strong. Results of randomized strategy trials comparing lower (i.e., more intensive) versus higher (i.e., less intensive) BP targets should drive the definition. However, these trials tested different BP targets based on systolic BP, diastolic BP or combined systolic and diastolic BP goals. Overall, the more intensive treatment targets reduced the risk of major cardiovascular complications of hypertension when compared with the less intensive targets, despite a higher incidence of unwanted effects including, but not limited to, hypotension, electrolyte abnormalities and renal dysfunction. Consequently, some Guidelines defined low BP thresholds (i.e., 120/70 mmHg) not to exceed downward because of the expectation that unwanted effects may outweigh the outcome benefits. The present review discusses the evidence underlying the choice of BP targets, which remains an important step in the management of hypertensive patients. We conclude that, on the ground of the heterogeneity of available data in support to fixed BP targets, their definition should be personalized in all patients and based on best trade-off between efficacy and safety, i.e., the lowest well tolerated BP.

Keywords: Antihypertensive treatment; Blood pressure target; Guidelines; Heart failure; Hypertension; Myocardial infarction; Stroke.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antihypertensive Agents* / therapeutic use
  • Blood Pressure* / drug effects
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Hypertension* / drug therapy
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Precision Medicine
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic


  • Antihypertensive Agents