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CJC Open


BACKGROUND: The hypertension specialist often receives referrals of patients with young-onset, severe, difficult-to-control hypertension, patients with hypertensive emergencies, and patients with secondary causes of hypertension. Specialist hypertension care compliments primary care for these complex patients and contributes to an overall hypertension control strategy. The objective of this study was to characterize hypertension centres and the practice patterns of Canadian hypertension specialists.

METHODS: Adult hypertension specialists across Canada were surveyed to describe hypertension centres and specialist practice in Canada, including the following: the patient population managed by hypertension specialists; details on how care is provided; practice pattern variations; and differences in access to specialized hypertension resources across the country.

RESULTS: The survey response rate was 73.5% from 25 hypertension centres. Most respondents were nephrologists and general internal medicine specialists. Hypertension centres saw between 50 and 2500 patients yearly. A mean of 17% (± 15%) of patients were referred from the emergency department and a mean of 52% (± 24%) were referred from primary care. Most centres had access to specialized testing (adrenal vein sampling, level 1 sleep studies, autonomic testing) and advanced therapies for resistant hypertension (renal denervation). Considerable heterogeneity was present in the target blood pressure in young people with low cardiovascular risk and in the diagnostic algorithms for investigating secondary causes of hypertension.

CONCLUSIONS: These results summarize the current state of hypertension specialist care and highlight opportunities for further collaboration among hypertension specialists, including standardization of the approach to specialist care for patients with hypertension.

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