Current guidelines on isolated systolic hypertension (ISH) suggest the same treatment to patients of all ages. Application of these guidelines in youth with ISH may not be appropriate, as presently no data show adverse outcome or benefit of drug therapy in this group. Simple noninvasive tonometric techniques now enable physicians to measure the central aortic pressure waveform and amplification of the pressure pulse. ISH in youth is usually caused by high amplification of the central pressure wave, whereas ISH in the elderly (>age 60) is attributable to aortic stiffening. This is the only group with ISH shown to have an adverse prognosis and to warrant drug therapy.