Calgary, AB, February 3, 2015 – Many eligible adults remain untreated for hypertension in the United States. A study has looked at the cost-effectiveness of treating these patients based on the 2014 U.S. guidelines.
According to the study, which used the Cardiovascular Disease Policy Model, the full implementation of the 2014 hypertension guidelines would save costs and result in an annual reduction of approximately 56,000 cardiovascular events and 13,000 deaths from cardiovascular causes. Cost-effectiveness is strongest for patients with existing cardiovascular disease or stage 2 hypertension and who are men between the ages of 35 and 74 years or women between the ages of 45 and 74 years. In fact, the evidence is so strong for some groups that cost saving remains intact even if treatments costs doubled to due to medication adherence.
Dr. Andrew Moran, the study’s lead author, hopes that the United States will follow Canada’s lead. “Much of the discussion about the 2014 U.S. hypertension guidelines has focused on changes in blood pressure targets, which translated into fewer adults eligible for treatment. Less attention has been paid to the fact that even under these more conservative treatment guidelines, 28 million U.S. adults have uncontrolled hypertension-that’s 44% of people with hypertension!
The U.S. has improved hypertension screening and treatment substantially over the past 50 years. But have we done enough? In Canada, the Canadian Hypertension Education Program (CHEP) has taken a more intensive policy approach, including patient and physician education and home blood pressure monitoring. The Canadian program has produced measurable improvements in rates of hypertension diagnosis, treatment, and control. And there is a suggestion that lives have been saved because of this program.”
Dr. Norm Campbell, Canada’s Chair in Hypertension and Control, agrees that treating hypertension is a cost-effective way to save a lot of lives. “Studies like this are an important part of Canada’s national discussion about a sustainable public health system. It’s not just about Canadians living longer. It’s about the quality of their lives.”
Dr. Moran’s study shows that treating hypertension saves lives and is a good value for society. It also raises some fundamental questions. “Is it a good idea for the U.S. to make a big investment in ‘personalized medicine’,” he wonders, “when we haven’t excelled in something basic like hypertension control?”