Items in AFP with MESH term: Antihypertensive Agents
ABSTRACT: Angiotensin-II receptor antagonists (or blockers) are a newer class of antihypertensive agents. These drugs are selective for angiotensin II (type 1 receptor); unlike angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, they do not inhibit bradykinin metabolism or enhance prostaglandin synthesis. Angiotensin-II receptor antagonists are well tolerated. Cough occurs much less often with these agents than with angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, and they do not adversely affect lipid profiles or cause rebound hypertension after discontinuation. Clinical trials indicate that angiotensin-II receptor antagonists are effective and safe in the treatment of hypertension. Their use in congestive heart failure and renal disease is under investigation.
ABSTRACT: Hypertension in blacks is usually characterized by low renin, expanded volume and sensitivity to salt. Diuretics are the preferred initial therapy, but response to calcium channel antagonists is also good. The blood pressure response to monotherapy with beta blockers or angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors is blunted, but this effect is abolished with concomitant use of diuretics. The two major types of hypertension in older persons are isolated systolic hypertension and combined systolic and diastolic hypertension. Strong data support the treatment of combined hypertension in patients 60 to 79 years of age and isolated systolic hypertension in patients 60 to 96 years of age. Diuretics and long-acting dihydropyridine calcium channel antagonists are the recommended initial therapies for isolated systolic hypertension. More studies are necessary before recommendations can be made about the treatment of combined hypertension in patients 80 years of age and older.
ABSTRACT: Optimal treatment of the patient who has sustained an acute ischemic stroke requires rapid assessment and early intervention. The leisurely approach to acute stroke management sometimes taken in the past should be replaced by an approach that treats stroke as a true medical emergency. Thrombolysis with tissue plasminogen activator has been labeled for the treatment of acute ischemic stroke, but it must be given within three hours of stroke onset. However, fibrinolytic therapy can be given safely to only a fraction of patients with acute stroke, and more broadly applicable therapies are needed. Recent evidence does not support the routine use of heparin in patients with acute stroke, and early use of aspirin offers only modest benefit. Neuroprotective therapies designed to interfere with cytotoxic events initiated by ischemia are undergoing clinical trials that should be completed within the next year. At present, only tissue plasminogen activator has been labeled for acute stroke treatment; however, other agents are on the horizon, and much can be done supportively to improve neurologic outcome. Because of the unique susceptibility of neurons to ischemia, minutes count. Thus, hospitals providing care for patients with acute stroke should organize clinical protocols and pathways for effective implementation of therapies.
ABSTRACT: Hypertension is a common comorbidity in patients with diabetes, and adequate control of blood pressure significantly reduces the risk of macrovascular and microvascular complications. Patients with diabetes should achieve a target blood pressure of less than 130/80 mm Hg. The use of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors may slow progression to kidney failure and cardiovascular mortality; these agents are the preferred therapy for managing coexisting diabetes and hypertension. Angiotensin receptor blockers can prevent progression of diabetic kidney disease and are a first-line alternative for patients intolerant of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors. Thiazide diuretics provide additional antihypertensive effects when combined with angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers. With lower doses of these drugs, the risk of clinically significant metabolic alterations is minimal. Beta blockers and calcium channel blockers also have beneficial effects in managing hypertension in patients with diabetes. Beta blockers reduce cardiovascular events and are useful in a multidrug regimen. Dihydropyridine calcium channel blockers should be reserved for patients intolerant of preferred agents or those who need additional therapy to achieve target blood pressure. Many patients with diabetes require combination therapy with multiple antihypertensive agents.
Cardiomyopathy: An Overview - Article
ABSTRACT: Cardiomyopathy is an anatomic and pathologic diagnosis associated with muscle or electrical dysfunction of the heart. Cardiomyopathies represent a heterogeneous group of diseases that often lead to progressive heart failure with significant morbidity and mortality. Cardiomyopathies may be primary (i.e., genetic, mixed, or acquired) or secondary (e.g., infiltrative, toxic, inflammatory). Major types include dilated cardiomyopathy, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, restrictive cardiomyopathy, and arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy. Although cardiomyopathy is asymptomatic in the early stages, symptoms are the same as those characteristically seen in any type of heart failure and may include shortness of breath, fatigue, cough, orthopnea, paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea, and edema. Diagnostic studies include B-type natriuretic peptide levels, baseline serum chemistries, electrocardiography, and echocardiography. Treatment is targeted at relieving the symptoms of heart failure and reducing rates of heart failure-related hospitalization and mortality. Treatment options include pharmacotherapy, implantable cardioverter-defibrillators, cardiac resynchronization therapy, and heart transplantation. Recommended lifestyle changes include restricting alcohol consumption, losing weight, exercising, quitting smoking, and eating a low-sodium diet.
ABSTRACT: High blood pressure is often difficult to control. Resistant hypertension is blood pressure above goal despite adherence to a combination of at least three antihypertensive medications of different classes, optimally dosed and usually including a diuretic. The approach to blood pressure that is apparently difficult to control begins with an assessment of the patient's adherence to the management plan, including lifestyle modifications and medications. White-coat hypertension may need to be ruled out. Suboptimal therapy is the most common reason for failure to reach the blood pressure goal. Once-daily fixed-dose combination pills may improve control through the synergism of antihypertensive agents from different classes and improved adherence. Truly drug-resistant hypertension is commonly caused by chronic kidney disease, obstructive sleep apnea, or hyperaldosteronism, all of which can lead to fluid retention. Higher doses of diuretics (or a change to a loop diuretic) are usually needed. Other strategies include adding an alpha blocker, alpha-beta blocker, clonidine, or an aldosterone antagonist (e.g., spironolactone). Particularly in patients with diabetes or renal disease, combining a long-acting nondihydropyridine with a dihydropyridine calcium channel . blocker can also be considered. Obesity, heavy alcohol intake, high levels of dietary sodium, and interfering substances (especially nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) contribute to hypertension that is resistant or difficult to control.
ABSTRACT: The American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association, in collaboration with the Canadian Cardiovascular Society, have issued an update of the 2004 guideline for the management of patients with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction. The American Academy of Family Physicians endorses and accepts this guideline as its policy. Early recognition and prompt initiation of reperfusion therapy remains the cornerstone of management of ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction. Aspirin should be given to symptomatic patients. Beta blockers should be used cautiously in the acute setting because they may increase the risk of cardiogenic shock and death. The combination of clopidogrel and aspirin is indicated in patients who have had ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction. A stepped care approach to analgesia for musculoskeletal pain in patients with coronary heart disease is provided. Cyclooxygenase inhibitors and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs increase mortality risk and should be avoided. Primary prevention is important to reduce the burden of heart disease. Secondary prevention interventions are critically important to prevent recurrent events in patients who survive.
A Tool for Evaluating Hypertension - Improving Patient Care
Preterm Labor - Article
ABSTRACT: Preventing preterm delivery remains one of the great challenges in modern medicine. Preterm birth rates continue to increase and accounted for 12.7 percent of all U.S. births in 2005. The etiology of preterm delivery is unclear, but is likely to be complex and influenced by genetics and environmental factors. Women with previous preterm birth are at increased risk of subsequent preterm delivery and may be candidates for treatment with antenatal progesterone. Fetal fibronectin testing and endovaginal ultrasonography for cervical length are useful for triage. For the patient in preterm labor, only antenatal corticosteroids and delivery in a facility with a level III neonatal intensive care unit have been shown to improve outcomes consistently. Tocolytic agents may delay delivery for up to 48 hours, enabling the administration of antenatal corticosteroids or maternal transfer. Routine use of antibiotics in preterm labor is not indicated except for group B streptococcus prophylaxis or treatment of chorioamnionitis.
ABSTRACT: Poorly controlled hypertension is a common finding in the outpatient setting. When patients present with severely elevated blood pressure (i.e., systolic blood pressure of 180 mm Hg or greater, or diastolic blood pressure of 110 mm Hg or greater), physicians need to differentiate hypertensive emergency from severely elevated blood pressure without signs or symptoms of end-organ damage (severe asymptomatic hypertension). Most patients who are asymptomatic but have poorly controlled hypertension do not have acute end-organ damage and, therefore, do not require immediate workup or treatment (within 24 hours). However, physicians should confirm blood pressure readings and appropriately classify the hypertensive state. A cardiovascular risk profile is important in guiding the treatment of severe asymptomatic hypertension; higher risk patients may benefit from more urgent and aggressive evaluation and treatment. Oral agents may be initiated before discharge, but intravenous medications and fast-acting oral agents should be reserved for true hypertensive emergencies. High blood pressure should be treated gradually. Appropriate, repeated follow-up over weeks to months is needed to reach desired blood pressure goals.