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USPSTF Reaffirms Benefit of Hypertension Screening for Adults

TUESDAY, April 27, 2021 -- The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force reaffirms the benefit for screening all adults for hypertension. This finding is the basis for a final recommendation statement, published in the April 27 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Janelle M. Guirguis-Blake, M.D., from the University of Washington in Tacoma, and colleagues conducted a systematic review of the benefits and harms of screening and confirmatory blood pressure measurements in adults. Data were included for 52 studies with 215,534 participants. The researchers found that in one cluster randomized controlled trial with 140,642 participants, fewer annual cardiovascular-related hospital admissions for cardiovascular disease were reported in the multicomponent intervention group, including hypertension screening, versus the control group (difference, 3.02 per 1,000 people; rate ratio, 0.91). In a meta-analysis of 15 studies with 11,309 participants, the pooled sensitivity and specificity were 0.54 and 0.90, respectively, for initial office-based blood pressure screening. Screening was associated with no decrement in quality of life or psychological distress in 13 studies with 5,150 participants.

Based on these findings, the USPSTF reaffirms with high certainty that screening for hypertension has substantial net benefit for adults. Therefore, the USPSTF recommends screening for hypertension with office blood pressure measurement for adults aged 18 years or older. Before starting treatment, blood pressure measurements should be obtained outside of the clinical setting for diagnostic confirmation (A recommendation).

"Without screening, most people wouldn't know they have hypertension and could be at risk for a heart attack or stroke," task force member John B. Wong, M.D., said in a statement. "Clinicians can improve their patients' health by screening all adults for hypertension."

Evidence Report

Final Recommendation Statement

Editorial 1

Editorial 2

Editorial 3

Editorial 4

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