Updated hypertension guidelines launched

 A new draft quality standard for evidence-based patient care of hypertension has been published by NICE.

The Institute has opened a consultation on its updated guidelines for the treatment of high blood pressure, which includes six statements to help improve care and outcomes.

Dr Gillian Leng, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Health and Social Care at NICE, said the new quality standard provides “measures markers” to drive improvements.

Reduction of high blood pressure is one of the most common interventions in primary care. In 2006, hypertension cost the NHS around £1bn to treat in drugs alone. It’s now estimated there are around 12 million people in the UK with the condition – plus an additional 5.7 million people yet to be diagnosed.

The six updated statements include ensuring people with resistant hypertension who have received four anti-hypertensive drugs and whose blood pressure remains uncontrolled are referred for specialist assessment. Also, NICE advises that people who are newly diagnosed and at a 10 year cardiovascular disease risk of 20% or higher should be offered statin therapy.

NICE aims for the revised quality standard to ensure accurate diagnosis, with treatments provided and their adherence and efficacy monitored appropriately and referrals to specialists made when necessary.

The final quality standard for high blood pressure is expected in March 2013.