To provide updated, evidence-based recommendations for the diagnosis and assessment of adults with hypertension.
The diagnosis of hypertension is dependent on appropriate blood pressure measurement, the timely assessment of serially elevated readings, the degree of blood pressure elevation, the method of measurement (office, ambulatory, home) and associated comorbidities. The presence of cardiovascular risk factors and target organ damage should be ascertained to assess global cardiovascular risk and determine the urgency, intensity and type of treatment required.
MEDLINE searches were conducted from November 2007 to October 2008 with the aid of a medical librarian. Reference lists were scanned, experts were contacted, and the personal files of authors and subgroup members were used to identify additional studies. Content and methodological experts assessed studies using prespecified, standardized evidence-based algorithms. Recommendations were based on evidence from peer-reviewed full-text articles only.
Recommendations for blood pressure measurement, criteria for hypertension diagnosis and follow-up, assessment of global cardiovascular risk, diagnostic testing, diagnosis of renovascular and endocrine causes of hypertension, home and ambulatory monitoring, and the use of echocardiography in hypertensive individuals are outlined. Key messages include continued emphasis on the expedited, accurate diagnosis of hypertension, the importance of global risk assessment and the need for ongoing monitoring of hypertensive patients to identify incident type 2 diabetes.
All recommendations were graded according to strength of the evidence and voted on by the 57 members of the Canadian Hypertension Education Program Evidence-Based Recommendations Task Force. All recommendations were required to be supported by at least 70% of task force members. These guidelines will continue to be updated annually.