National patterns in intensity and frequency of outpatient care for apparent treatment-resistant hypertension
Apparent treatment-resistant hypertension (aTRH) is associated with an increased risk of adverse cardiovascular outcomes. We studied the frequency and intensity of care for aTRH among participants aged 65 years and older in the US-based REGARDS study linked with Medicare claims.Methods:
Blood pressure (BP) was measured twice and averaged. aTRH was defined by the use of ≥3 classes of antihypertensive medication and uncontrolled BP (UaTRH, systolic/diastolic BP ≥140/90 mmHg), or ≥4 classes with controlled BP (CaTRH). Participants were categorized as not having aTRH (no aTRH), CaTRH or UaTRH.Results:
Among 4650 participants with hypertension, 468 (10.1%) had UaTRH, 247 (5.3%) had CaTRH, and 3935 (84.6%) had hypertension but did not have aTRH. For hypertension-related visits, those with UaTRH saw primary care physicians and cardiologists more frequently than those without aTRH (mean primary care visits per year: 2.77 vs 2.27, P < .001; cardiologists: 0.50 vs 0.35, P = .014). Among those with UaTRH, CaTRH, and no aTRH, respectively 73.5%, 68.0%, and 67.5% had >1 hypertension-related visit per year. Among those with UaTRH, males vs females (prevalence ratio = 0.78; 95% CI 0.69-0.89), whites vs blacks (0.88; 95% CI 0.78-0.99), and current smokers vs non-smokers (0.66; 95% CI 0.48-0.89) were less likely to receive >1 hypertension-related visit per year. Diagnostic intensity, measured by testing for end organ damage and secondary hypertension, was similar between groups.Conclusions:
Many people with UaTRH are not seen more than once per year for hypertension and may benefit from increased care.