Introduction: Blood pressure (BP) control is poorly achieved in hypertensive patients, worldwide.
Aim: We evaluated clinic BP levels and the rate of BP control in hypertensive patients included in observational studies and clinical surveys published between 2005 and 2011 in Italy.
Methods: We reviewed the medical literature to identify observational studies and clinical surveys on hypertension between January 2005 and June 2011, which clearly reported information on clinic BP levels, rates of BP control, proportions of treated and untreated patients, who were followed in different clinical settings (mostly in general practice, and also in outpatient clinics and hypertension centres).
Results: The overall sample included 158 876 hypertensive patients (94 907 women, mean age 56.6 ± 9.6 years, BMI 27.2 ± 4.2 kg/m2, known duration of hypertension 90.2 ± 12.4 months). In the selected studies, average SBP and DBP levels were 145.7 ± 15.9 and 87.5 ± 9.7 mmHg, respectively; BP levels were higher in patients followed in hypertension centres (n = 10 724, 6.7%; 146.5 ± 17.3/88.5 ± 10.3 mmHg) than in those followed by general practitioners (n = 148 152, 93.3%; 143.5 ± 13.9/84.8 ± 8.9 mmHg; P < 0.01). More than half of the patients were treated (n = 91 318, 57.5%); among treated hypertensive patients, only 31 727 (37.0%) had controlled BP levels.
Conclusion: The present analysis confirmed inadequate control of BP in Italy, independently of the clinical setting. Although some improvement was noted compared with a similar analysis performed between 1995 and 2005, these findings highlight the need for a more effective clinical management of hypertension.