Estimating the Association of the 2017 and 2014 Hypertension Guidelines With Cardiovascular Events and Deaths in US Adults: An Analysis of National Data

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Abstract

Importance

The 2017 American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association hypertension guideline recommends lower blood pressure (BP) thresholds for initiating antihypertensive medication and treatment goals than the 2014 evidence-based hypertension guideline.

Objective

To estimate the potential association of the 2017 and 2014 hypertension guidelines with the proportion of US adults defined as being hypertensive or recommended for antihypertensive treatment and with risk reduction of major cardiovascular disease (CVD) and all-cause mortality.

Design, Setting, and Participants

Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2013 to 2016, we estimated the proportions of US adults with hypertension or recommended for antihypertensive treatment according to the 2017 and 2014 hypertension guidelines. Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, antihypertensive clinical trials, and population-based cohort studies, we estimated risk reductions of CVD and all-cause mortality assuming the entire US adult population achieved guideline-recommended systolic BP (SBP) treatment goals. Data were analyzed between October 2017 and March 2018.

Main Outcomes and Measures

Proportions and numbers of individuals with hypertension or recommended for antihypertensive treatment and numbers of CVD and all-cause mortality reduction.

Results

According to the 2017 hypertension guideline, the prevalence of hypertension (BP level ≥130/80 mm Hg) was 45.4% (95% CI, 43.9%-46.9%), representing 105.3 (95% CI, 101.9-108.8) million US adults, which was significantly higher than estimates per the 2014 hypertension guideline (BP level ≥140/90 mm Hg): 32.0% (95% CI, 30.3%-33.6%) or 74.1 (95% CI, 70.3-77.9) million individuals, respectively. Additionally, the proportion of individuals recommended for antihypertensive treatment was significantly higher according to the 2017 hypertension guideline (35.9%; 95% CI, 34.2%-37.5%) compared with the 2014 hypertension guideline (31.1%; 95% CI, 29.6%-32.7%). Achieving the 2017 hypertension guideline SBP treatment goals is estimated to reduce 610 000 (95% CI, 496 000-734 000) CVD events and 334 000 (95% CI, 245 000-434 000) total deaths in US adults 40 years and older. Corresponding estimates after achieving the 2014 hypertension guideline SBP treatment goals were 270 000 (95% CI, 202 000-349 000) and 177 000 (95% CI, 123 000-241 000), respectively. Implementing the 2017 hypertension guideline is estimated to increase 62 000 hypotension and 79 000 acute kidney injury or failure events.

Conclusions and Relevance

Compared with the 2014 hypertension guideline, the 2017 hypertension guideline was associated with an increase in the proportion of adults recommended for antihypertensive treatment and a further reduction in major CVD events and all-cause mortality, but a possible increase in the number of adverse events in the United States.

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