SAMJ: South African Medical Journal
On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
OUTCOME: Extensive data from randomised controlled trials have shown the benefit of treating hypertension. The target blood pressure (BP) for antihypertensive management is systolic <140 mmHg and diastolic <90 mmHg with minimal or no drug sideeffects; however, stricter BP control is required for patients with end-organ damage, co-existing risk factors and co-morbidity, e.g. diabetes mellitus. The reduction of BP in the elderly and in those with severe hypertension should be achieved gradually over 1 month. Co-existent risk factors should also be controlled. BENEFITS: Benefits of management include reduced risks of stroke, cardiac failure, chronic kidney disease and coronary heart disease. RECOMMENDATIONS: The correct BP measurement procedure is described, and evaluation of cardiovascular risk factors and recommendations for antihypertensive therapy are stipulated. The total cardiovascular disease risk profile should be determined for all patients to inform management strategies. Lifestyle modification and patient education are cornerstones in the management of every patient. Major indications, precautions and contraindications to each recommended antihypertensive drug are listed. Combination therapy should be considered ab initio if the BP is >20/10 mmHg above goal. First-line drug therapy for uncomplicated hypertension includes low-dose thiazide-like diuretics, calcium channel blockers (CCBs) or angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs) (or ARBs - angiotensin II receptor blockers). If the target BP is not obtained, a second antihypertensive should be added from the aforementioned list. If the target BP is still not met, the third remaining antihypertensive agent should be used. In black patients either thiazide-like diuretics or CCBs can be used initially, because response rates are better than with ACE-Is or β-blockers. In treating resistant hypertension, a centrally acting drug, vasodilator, α-blocker, spironolactone or β-blocker should be added. This guideline includes management of specific situations, i.e. hypertensive emergency and urgency, severe hypertension with target organ damage, hypertension in diabetes mellitus, resistant hypertension, fixed drug combinations, new trials in hypertension, and interactions of antihypertensive agents with other drugs. VALIDITY: The guideline was developed by the Southern African Hypertension Society.