Background The 2017 American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) recommendations lower the hypertension threshold to 130/80 mmHg and recommends treatment for high-risk patients. Our aim is to determine whether the new blood pressure categories are associated with left ventricular (LV) structural changes and whether echocardiograms can provide risk stratification and help treatment initiation. Methods We conducted a cross-sectional study and performed screening echocardiograms to consecutive primary care patients. We calculated the Framingham score to identify patients with a low or intermediate score who had structural heart disease. We classified everyone as having normal, elevated blood pressure, stage 1 or stage 2 hypertension according to the 2017 ACC/AHA guidelines. We defined structural heart disease as having LV hypertrophy and an abnormal LV mass index. Results We included 16 650 patients who underwent a screening echocardiogram and had recorded blood pressure. Out of the 16 650 patients, 1465 patients had a normal blood pressure, 1382 had elevated blood pressure, 1333 had stage 1 hypertension, and the remainder had stage 2 hypertension. The adjusted odds ratios of having structural heart disease for elevated blood pressure and stage 1 hypertension were 1.30; 95% CI, 1.112-1.64; P < 0.01 and 1.69; 95% CI, 1.25-2.30; P < 0.01, respectively. We identified 542 patients with stage 1 hypertension who had a low or intermediate Framingham score and 19% (95% CI, 16-23%) had structural heart disease. Conclusion A quarter of patients identified as having elevated blood pressure or stage 1 hypertension have structural heart disease. Screening echocardiograms may help to risk stratify those patients deemed ineligible for treatment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Assessment and Diagnosis
- Advanced and Specialized Nursing