, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 253-259

Is there a preferred antihypertensive therapy for isolated systolic hypertension and reduced arterial compliance?

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Isolated systolic hypertension (ISH) is the most common type of hypertension and the most difficult type to control with antihypertensive therapy. ISH, by definition, is wide pulse pressure hypertension resulting largely from excessive large artery stiffness and representing an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease in the older aged population. Two major intervention studies of ISH have shown significant benefit in reducing systolic blood pressure with active drug therapy, including thiazide diuretics and calcium receptor antagonists. The optimal treatment strategy is to maximize reduction in systolic blood pressure and to minimize reduction in diastolic blood pressure, thereby reducing pulse pressure. All classes of antihypertensive drugs reduce pulse pressure by means of lowering peripheral resistance, but certain drugs like nitrates, angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, and other drugs affecting the renin-angiotensin system have multiple actions that improve large artery stiffness and early wave reflection and are especially useful in treating ISH in the elderly.