Objective: Presence of hypertensive target organ damage is related to increased vascular risk and mortality. Whether combined presence of hypertensive target organ damage confers higher vascular risk compared to single presence is unknown. This study evaluates the separate and combined effects of impaired renal function [estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) ≤60 ml/min per 1.73 m2], albuminuria (albumin/creatinine-ratio men ≥2.5 mg/mmol, women ≥3.5 mg/mmol) and left-ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) (Sokolow–Lyon and/or Cornell-voltage criterion) on the occurrence of vascular events and mortality in patients with vascular disease (coronary artery disease, cerebrovascular disease, and peripheral arterial disease).
Methods and results: A cohort of patients with vascular diseases (n = 4319) was followed (median 4.4 years) for the occurrence of vascular events (stroke, myocardial infarction, vascular death) and mortality. LVH was present in 11%, impaired renal function in 15%, and albuminuria in 18%. Presence of at least two hypertensive target organ damage was prevalent in 8%. The risk for vascular events was hazard ratio 1.5 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.2–1.9] for presence of one hypertensive target organ damage and hazard ratio 3.8 (95% CI 2.3–6.3) for three manifestations of hypertensive target organ damage (adjusted for age, sex). For mortality this was hazard ratio 1.4 (95% CI 1.1–1.7) and hazard ratio 3.2 (95% CI 1.9–5.2). Hazard ratios for single presence of different types of organ damage were comparable and independent of the presence of hypertension.
Conclusions: Impaired renal function, albuminuria, and LVH are prevalent in patients with vascular disease and confer independent and additive risk for vascular events and mortality. Measurement of hypertensive target organ damage in patients with vascular disease identifies patients at very high risk and may have treatment implications.