Understanding the Haemodynamics of Hypertension

  • B. E. Smith
  • V. M. Madigan
Hypertension and Emergency Medicine (T Rainer and P Levy, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Hypertension and Emergency Medicine


Purpose of review

This article introduces the haemodynamic principles that underpin the pathophysiology of hypertension and introduces a rational physiological approach to appropriate pharmacologic treatment.

Recent findings

Outdated understanding of haemodynamics based on previous measurement systems can no longer be applied to our understanding of the circulation. We question the current view of hypertension as defined by a predominantly systolic blood pressure and introduce the concept of vasogenic, cardiogenic and mixed-origin hypertension. We postulate that failure to identify the individual’s haemodynamic pattern may lead to the use of inappropriate medication, which in turn may be a major factor in patient non-compliance with therapeutic strategies. A population-based approach to treatment of hypertension may lead to suboptimal functional dynamics in the individual patient. Finally, we question the validity of current guidelines and published evidence relating morbidity and mortality to the future treatment of hypertension.


The importance of individual haemodynamic profiles may be pivotal in the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of hypertension if optimal control with minimal adverse effects is to be achieved. Research based on individual haemodynamic patterns is overdue.


Blood pressure Cardiac output Compliance Haemodynamics Hypertension Pathophysiology Vascular resistance 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest. Specifically, neither of the authors has any financial interest in any company or organisation, nor has received any financial benefit or inducement related to the subject matter of this review article.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: •• Of major importance

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of MedicineUniversity of Notre Dame, AustraliaDarlinghurstAustralia
  2. 2.School of Biomedical ScienceCharles Sturt UniversityBathurstAustralia

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