Comparative Study
Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
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Can echocardiography identify mildly hypertensive patients at high risk, left untreated based on current guidelines?

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether the decision to treat uncomplicated mild hypertension with drugs, in accordance with the World Health Organization - International Society of Hypertension (WHO/ISH) guidelines based on a series of blood pressure (BP) measurements over 6 months, resulted in the treatment of patients at high risk on the basis of echocardiography.

METHODS: One hundred and eighteen patients with mild hypertension (diastolic blood pressure 90-105 mm Hg and/or systolic blood pressure 140-180 mm Hg) were examined by echocardiography at inclusion and followed up for 6 months by a single physician unaware of the echographic results.

RESULTS: Drug treatment was given to 48 patients, and 70 remained untreated. Treated patients had higher echographic indices than untreated patients (all P<0.05): left ventricular (LV) mass/body surface area (83.0+/-15.6 versus 75.3+/-14.8 g/m2), inter-ventricular septal thickness (9.7+/-1.7 versus 8.5+/-1.3 mm), LV posterior wall thickness (8.4+/-1.1 versus 7.8+/-1.1 mm), relative wall thickness (0.37+/-0.06 versus 0.34+/-0.06). LV geometry was normal in 98 patients, and 20 had LV concentric remodelling. The 10-year coronary disease risk (Framingham equation) was higher in the 20 patients with concentric remodelling than in those with normal LV geometry (10.4 versus 4.2%; P<0.005). Nine of these 20 patients were still untreated at the end of the 6-month follow-up period.

CONCLUSION: Rigorous application of the WHO/ISH clinical guidelines in a group of mild hypertensive patients led to the treatment of patients with slightly higher LV mass and more concentric LV geometry than were found in those not treated. However, a high-risk subgroup, with concentric remodelling, was not identified and left untreated.

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