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Objective We tested the hypothesis that qualitative microalbuminuria (MAU) screening in a practice setting would identify non-diabetic hypertensive patients at high risk of developing cardiovascular disease.Design We enrolled general practitioners throughout Germany, who obtained histories, physical examinations, and routine laboratory values as clinically indicated on treated or non-treated hypertensive, non-diabetic patients. MAU was measured with a albumin-sensitive, immunoassay test strip. We studied 11 343 non-diabetic hypertensive patients.Results The patients' mean age was 57 years, 51% were men and mean hypertension duration was 69 months. Twenty-five per cent had coronary artery disease, 17% had left ventricular hypertrophy, 5% had had a stroke, and 6°/o had peripheral vascular disease. MAU was present in 32% of men and 28% of women (P<0.05). In patients with MAU, 31% had coronary artery disease, 24% had left ventricular hypertrophy, 6% had had a stroke, and 7% had peripheral vascular disease. In patients without MAU, these rates were 22%, 14%, 4%, and 5% respectively: lower in every category (P< 0.001). Further, in patients with coronary artery disease, left ventricular hypertrophy, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease, MAU was significantly greater than in patients who did not have these complications (P< 0.001). MAU increased with age, severity of hypertension and duration of hypertension, was associated with higher plasma creatinine values, and was more common in patients with hyperlipidemia (P<0.05).Conclusion On the basis of our survey, we conclude that qualitative MAU determinations identify hypertensive patients with particular cardiovascular risk in a practice setting.