Benefits of Implementing 2017 Hypertension Guidelines Would Outweigh Side Effects Interview with:

Dr-Jiang He

Dr. Jiang He

Jiang He, MD, PhD
Joseph S. Copes Chair of Epidemiology, Professor
School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine
Tulane University What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?


Response: The 2017 American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association hypertension guideline recommended lower blood pressure cut points for initiating antihypertensive medication and treatment goals than the previous hypertension guideline. We estimated the prevalence of hypertension and the proportion of the US adult population recommended for antihypertensive treatment according to the 2017 hypertension guideline. More importantly, we estimated the risk reductions of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality, as well as increases in adverse events, assuming the entire US adult population achieved the 2017 guideline-recommended systolic blood pressure treatment goals of less than 130 mmHg.

Our study indicated the prevalence of hypertension was 45.4%, representing 105 million US adults with hypertension, according to the 2017 hypertension guideline. In addition, the proportion of individuals recommended for antihypertensive treatment was 35.9% or 83 million US adults.

Based on data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, antihypertensive clinical trials, and US population-based cohort studies, we estimated 610 thousand cardiovascular disease events and 334 thousand total deaths could be prevented annually in the US population if the 2017 hypertension guideline systolic blood pressure treatment goals were achieved in the entire US population.

Compared to full implementation of the previous hypertension guideline, we estimated the 2017 hypertension guideline recommendations would reduce an additional 340 thousand cardiovascular disease events and 156 thousand deaths per year in the US.

Implementing the 2017 hypertension guideline was estimated to increase 62 thousand hypotension, 32 thousand syncope, 31 thousand electrolyte abnormality, and 79 thousand acute kidney injury or kidney failure events.

These analyses indicated implementing the 2017 hypertension guideline would significantly increase the proportion of US adults recommended for antihypertensive treatment and further reduce cardiovascular disease events and all-cause mortality, but might increase the number of adverse events in the US population. What should readers take away from your report? 

Response: Our analyses indicated implementing the 2017 hypertension guideline would further reduce cardiovascular disease events and all-cause mortality. The benefits of risk reduction in cardiovascular disease and mortality outweigh the potential risks for adverse events in the US population. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Future clinical trials are needed to test lower blood pressure goals in patients with diabetes or stroke because they were excluded from the SPRINT trial.

In addition, it is important to test the implementation strategies to lower blood pressure to the new target in community.

No disclosures


Bundy JD, Mills KT, Chen J, Li C, Greenland P, He J. Estimating the Association of the 2017 and 2014 Hypertension Guidelines With Cardiovascular Events and Deaths in US AdultsAn Analysis of National DataJAMA Cardiol. Published online May 23, 2018. doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2018.1240

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