Current Opinion

Drugs in R&D

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 31-43

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Clinical Implications of the 2013 ESH/ESC Hypertension Guidelines: Targets, Choice of Therapy, and Blood Pressure Monitoring

  • Sverre E. KjeldsenAffiliated withDepartment of Cardiology, Oslo University Hospital, Ullevål Email author 
  • , Tonje A. AksnesAffiliated withDepartment of Cardiology, Akershus University Hospital
  • , Luis M. RuilopeAffiliated withHypertension Unit, Hospital 12 de Octubre


The European Society of Hypertension (ESH)/European Society of Cardiology (ESC) 2013 guidelines for the management of arterial hypertension included simplified blood pressure (BP) targets across patient groups, more balanced discussion on monotherapy vs. combination therapy, as well as reconfirmation of the importance of out-of-office BP measurements. In light of these updates, we wished to review some issues raised and take a fresh look at the role of calcium channel blocker (CCB) therapy; an established antihypertensive class that appears to be a favorable choice in many patients. Relaxed BP targets for high-risk hypertensive patients in the 2013 ESH/ESC guidelines were driven by a lack of commanding evidence for an aggressive approach. However, substantial evidence demonstrates cardiovascular benefits from more intensive BP lowering across patient groups. Individualized treatment of high-risk patients may be prudent until more solid evidence is available. Individual patient profiles and preferences and evidence for preferential therapy benefits should be considered when deciding upon the optimal antihypertensive regimen. CCBs appear to be a positive choice for monotherapy, and in combination with other agent classes, and may provide specific benefits beyond BP lowering. Ambulatory and home BP monitoring have an increasing role in defining the diagnosis and prognosis of hypertension (especially non-sustained); however, their value for comprehensive diagnosis and appropriate treatment selection should be more widely acknowledged. In conclusion, further evidence may be required on BP targets in high-risk patients, and optimal treatment selection based upon individual patient profiles and comprehensive diagnosis using out-of-office BP measurements may improve patient management.