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Underdiagnosis of Isolated Systolic and Isolated Diastolic Hypertension

Systolic and diastolic hypertension independently predict the risk of adverse cardiovascular events. It remains unclear how systolic pressure, diastolic pressure, and other patient characteristics influence the initial diagnosis of hypertension. Here, we use a cohort of 146,816 adults in a large healthcare system to examine how elevated systolic and/or diastolic blood pressure measurements influence initial diagnosis of hypertension and how other patient characteristics influence the diagnosis. Thirty-four percent of the cohort were diagnosed with hypertension within 1 year. In multivariable logistic regression of the diagnosis of hypertension, controlling for covariates, isolated systolic hypertensive measures (odds ratio [OR] 0.42 [95% confidence interval {CI} 0.41 to 0.43]) and isolated diastolic hypertensive measures (OR 0.32 [95% CI 0.31 to 0.33]) were less likely to lead to hypertension diagnosis when compared with combined hypertensive measures. Higher levels of systolic blood pressure had a greater impact on hypertension diagnosis (OR 1.77 [95% CI 1.75 to 1.79] per Z-score) than did higher levels of diastolic blood pressure (OR 1.34 [95% CI 1.32 to 1.36] per Z-score). Older age, non-white race/ethnicity, and medical comorbidities all predicted the establishment of a diagnosis of hypertension. Isolated systolic and isolated diastolic hypertension are underdiagnosed in clinical practice, and several patient-centered factors also strongly influence whether a diagnosis is made. In conclusion, our findings uncover a care gap that can be closed with increased attention to the independent influence of systolic and diastolic hypertension and the various patient-centered factors that may impact hypertension diagnosis.

Authors: Conell, Carol; Flint, Alexander C; Ren, Xiushui; Banki, Nader M; Chan, Sheila L; Rao, Vivek A; Edwards, Nancy J; Melles, Ronald B; Bhatt, Deepak L

Am J Cardiol. 2021 02 15;141:56-61. Epub 2020-12-05.

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