Grand Rounds
June 4, 2014

Resistant HypertensionA Review of Diagnosis and Management

Author Affiliations
  • 1Hypertension Section, Cardiology Division, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas

Copyright 2014 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.

JAMA. 2014;311(21):2216-2224. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.5180

Resistant hypertension—uncontrolled hypertension with 3 or more antihypertensive agents—is increasingly common in clinical practice. Clinicians should exclude pseudoresistant hypertension, which results from nonadherence to medications or from elevated blood pressure related to the white coat syndrome. In patients with truly resistant hypertension, thiazide diuretics, particularly chlorthalidone, should be considered as one of the initial agents. The other 2 agents should include calcium channel blockers and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors for cardiovascular protection. An increasing body of evidence has suggested benefits of mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists, such as eplerenone and spironolactone, in improving blood pressure control in patients with resistant hypertension, regardless of circulating aldosterone levels. Thus, this class of drugs should be considered for patients whose blood pressure remains elevated after treatment with a 3-drug regimen to maximal or near maximal doses. Resistant hypertension may be associated with secondary causes of hypertension including obstructive sleep apnea or primary aldosteronism. Treating these disorders can significantly improve blood pressure beyond medical therapy alone. The role of device therapy for treating the typical patient with resistant hypertension remains unclear.