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High Blood Pressure in Pregnancy - Editorials
ABSTRACT: The National High Blood Pressure Education Program's Working Group on High Blood Pressure in Pregnancy recently issued a report implicating hypertension as a complication in 6 to 8 percent of pregnancies. Hypertension in pregnancy is related to one of four conditions: (1) chronic hypertension that predates pregnancy; (2) preeclampsia-eclampsia, a serious, systemic syndrome of elevated blood pressure, proteinuria and other findings; (3) chronic hypertension with superimposed preeclampsia; and (4) gestational hypertension, or nonproteinuric hypertension of pregnancy. Edema is no longer a criterion for preeclampsia, and the definition of blood pressure elevation is 140/90 mm Hg or higher. Patients with gestational hypertension have previously unrecognized chronic hypertension, emerging preeclampsia or transient hypertension of pregnancy, an obstetrically benign condition. Because distinguishing among these conditions can be done only in retrospect, clinical management of gestational hypertension consists of repeated evaluations to look for signs of emerging preeclampsia. Women with chronic hypertension should be followed for evidence of fetal growth restriction or superimposed preeclampsia. Management options for chronic hypertension in most women include discontinuing antihypertensive medications during pregnancy, switching to methyldopa or continuing previous antihypertensive therapy.
Hypertension in Children and Adolescents - Article
ABSTRACT: The development of a national database on normative blood pressure levels throughout childhood has contributed to the recognition of elevated blood pressure in children and adolescents. The epidemic of childhood obesity, the risk of developing left ventricular hypertrophy, and evidence of the early development of atherosclerosis in children would make the detection of and intervention in childhood hypertension important to reduce long-term health risks; however, supporting data are lacking. Secondary hypertension is more common in preadolescent children, with most cases caused by renal disease. Primary or essential hypertension is more common in adolescents and has multiple risk factors, including obesity and a family history of hypertension. Evaluation involves a thorough history and physical examination, laboratory tests, and specialized studies. Management is multifaceted. Nonpharmacologic treatments include weight reduction, exercise, and dietary modifications. Recommendations for pharmacologic treatment are based on symptomatic hypertension, evidence of end-organ damage, stage 2 hypertension, stage 1 hypertension unresponsive to lifestyle modifications, and hypertension with diabetes mellitus.
ABSTRACT: Home monitoring of blood glucose and blood pressure levels can provide patients and physicians with valuable information in the management of diabetes mellitus and hypertension. Home monitoring allows patients to play an active role in their care and may improve treatment adherence and clinical outcomes. Glucose meters currently on the market produce results within 15 percent of serum blood glucose readings and offer a variety of features. Although the data are somewhat conflicting, home glucose monitoring has been associated with improved glycemic control and reduced long-term complications from diabetes. These effects are more pronounced in patients who take insulin. Home blood pressure values predict target organ damage and cardiovascular outcomes better than values obtained in the office. Home blood pressure measurements are also effective at detecting borderline hypertension and monitoring the effectiveness of antihypertensive drugs. Validated arm cuffs are the preferred blood pressure devices for home use. Information from home monitoring should always be used in conjunction with that from regular office visits and other data to make appropriate therapeutic decisions.
ABSTRACT: Several large clinical trials conducted over the past decade have shown that pharmacologic interventions can dramatically reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with heart failure. These trials have modified and enhanced the therapeutic paradigm for heart failure and extended treatment goals beyond limiting congestive symptoms of volume overload. Part II of this two-part article presents treatment recommendations for patients with left ventricular systolic dysfunction. The authors recommend that, if tolerated and not contraindicated, the following agents be used in patients with left ventricular systolic dysfunction: an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor in all patients; a beta blocker in all patients except those who have symptoms at rest; and spironolactone in patients who have symptoms at rest or who have had such symptoms within the past six months. Diuretics and digoxin should be reserved, as needed, for symptomatic management of heart failure. Other treatments or treatment programs may be necessary in individual patients.
Screening for Peripheral Arterial Disease: Recommendation Statement - U.S. Preventive Services Task Force
ABSTRACT: Stress test parameters indicating the presence and extent of coronary artery disease have traditionally included such variables as exercise duration, and the blood pressure and ST-segment responses to exercise. The three-minute systolic blood pressure ratio, another important indicator of significant coronary artery disease, is a useful and readily obtainable measure that can be applied in all patients who are undergoing stress testing for the evaluation of known or suspected ischemic heart disease. The ratio is calculated by dividing the systolic blood pressure three minutes into the recovery phase of a treadmill exercise test by the systolic blood pressure at peak exercise. A three-minute systolic blood pressure ratio greater than 0.90 is considered abnormal and has a diagnostic accuracy of approximately 75 percent for the detection of coronary artery disease (i.e., an accuracy comparable to that of ST-segment depression). Higher values for the ratio are associated with more extensive coronary artery disease, as well as an adverse prognosis after myocardial infarction. Thus, the three-minute systolic blood pressure ratio provides information that is complementary to the traditional exercise test parameters for identifying high-risk ischemic heart disease.
ABSTRACT: Orthostatic hypotension is defined as a decrease in systolic blood pressure of 20 mm Hg or a decrease in diastolic blood pressure of 10 mm Hg within three minutes of standing when compared with blood pressure from the sitting or supine position. It results from an inadequate physiologic response to postural changes in blood pressure. Orthostatic hypotension may be acute or chronic, as well as symptomatic or asymptomatic. Common symptoms include dizziness, lightheadedness, blurred vision, weakness, fatigue, nausea, palpitations, and headache. Less common symptoms include syncope, dyspnea, chest pain, and neck and shoulder pain. Causes include dehydration or blood loss; disorders of the neurologic, cardiovascular, or endocrine systems; and several classes of medications. Evaluation of suspected orthostatic hypotension begins by identifying reversible causes and underlying associated medical conditions. Head-up tilt-table testing can aid in confirming a diagnosis of suspected orthostatic hypotension when standard orthostatic vital signs are nondiagnostic; it also can aid in assessing treatment response in patients with an autonomic disorder. Goals of treatment involve improving hypotension without excessive supine hypertension, relieving orthostatic symptoms, and improving standing time. Treatment includes correcting reversible causes and discontinuing responsible medications, when possible. Nonpharmacologic treatment should be offered to all patients. For patients who do not respond adequately to nonpharmacologic treatment, fludrocortisone, midodrine, and pyridostigmine are pharmacologic therapies proven to be beneficial.
Diabetes: Treating Hypertension - Clinical Evidence Handbook