Resistance to antihypertensive treatment and long-term risk: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study

Magnus O. Wijkman, Marcus V.B. Malachias, Brian L. Claggett, Susan Cheng, Kunihiro Matsushita, Amil M. Shah, Pardeep S. Jhund, Josef Coresh, Scott D. Solomon, Orly Vardeny

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


More stringent blood pressure (BP) goals have led to greater prevalence of apparent resistant hypertension (ARH), yet the long-term prognostic impact of ARH diagnosed according to these goals in the general population remains unknown. We assessed the prognostic impact of ARH according to contemporary BP goals in 9612 participants of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study without previous cardiovascular disease. ARH, defined as BP above goal (traditional goal <140/90 mmHg, more stringent goal <130/80 mmHg) despite the use of ≥3 antihypertensive drug classes or any BP with ≥4 antihypertensive drug classes (one of which was required to be a diuretic) was compared with controlled hypertension (BP at goal with 1-3 antihypertensive drug classes). Cox regression models were adjusted for age, sex, race, study center, BMI, heart rate, smoking, eGFR, LDL, HDL, triglycerides, and diabetes. Using the traditional BP goal, 133 participants (3.8% of the treated) had ARH. If the more stringent BP goal was instead applied, 785 participants (22.6% of the treated) were reclassified from controlled hypertension to uncontrolled hypertension (n = 725) or to ARH (n = 60). Over a median follow-up time of 19 years, ARH was associated with increased risk for a composite end point (all-cause mortality, hospitalization for myocardial infarction, stroke, or heart failure) regardless of whether traditional (adjusted HR 1.50, 95% CI: 1.23-1.82) or more stringent (adjusted HR 1.43, 95% CI: 1.20-1.70) blood pressure goals were applied. We conclude that in patients free from cardiovascular disease, ARH predicted long-term risk regardless of whether traditional or more stringent BP criteria were applied.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1887-1896
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Hypertension
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • antihypertensive therapy
  • epidemiology
  • resistant hypertension

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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