Hypertension - Still an important cause of heart failure?

E. Kazzam, B. A. Ghurbana, E. N. Obineche, M. Gary Nicholls

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Hypertension has been the single most important risk factor for heart failure until the last few decades. Now, it is frequently claimed that atherosclerotic coronary artery disease dominates as the major underlying cause, and hypertension is of lesser importance. We here review evidence regarding the contribution of hypertension to heart failure in the recent decades. It is not possible, in our view, to be confident of the relative importance of hypertension and coronary artery disease since there are significant limitations in the available data. The often-questionable diagnostic criteria used in defining heart failure is one such limitation. The absence or inadequacy of blood pressure recordings over the years prior to a diagnosis of heart failure seriously hinders the reaching of firm conclusions in many reports. Extrapolations from aetiological observations in one racial group to those in other racial groups, and from highly selected study groups in tertiary referral centres to patients with heart failure in primary and secondary care, may not be justified. Finally, the situation of heart failure primarily due to impaired left ventricular diastolic function, where hypertension is a frequent precursor, is often ignored in discussions of aetiology. Our view is that hypertension remains and probably is the single most, important modifiable risk factor for cardiac failure in some races and countries, where the dominant cardiac abnormality is left ventricular diastolic dysfunction. The situation is less clear for patients with heart failure primarily due to left ventricular systolic dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-275
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Human Hypertension
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2005


  • Coronary disease
  • Heart failure
  • Hypertension

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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