The most up to date treatment guidelines for hypertension were explained by visiting expert Dr Mark Pecker at the latest Grand Rounds in Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q).

Dr Mark Pecker
Dr Mark Pecker

Dr Pecker, Professor of Clinical Medicine under the Nephrology and Hypertension Division at Weill Cornell Medicine – New York, said that the global burden of hypertension – high blood pressure – is huge and growing.

Hypertension is the largest risk factor for death in the world. It accounts for around 9.4 million deaths around the world every year, about 54% of them strokes and 47% heart attacks. It accounts for roughly one-third of the deaths in Europe and Asia. Hypertension has also become much more common in low- and middle-income countries.’

Treating hypertension is an extremely effective way of improving health outcomes, according to Dr Pecker.

Treating hypertension really works. So when you have lower blood pressure, you can reliably lower the risk of heart attack, stroke and related problems. Of all the risk factors for heart disease it is by far the most treatable and the easiest to deal with.’

Dr Pecker outlined the history of hypertension measurement and treatment, and discussed developments in treatment. He explained that a recent trial, the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT) concluded that intensive treatment aiming for a target systolic blood pressure of <120 mm Hg, rather than the previous method of routine treatment aiming to manage blood pressure to a target of <140 mm Hg, delivered significant cardiovascular benefit in high-risk patients with hypertension.

The SPRINT trial has provided us with some amazing data. At the end of three years they were able to show that there is a dramatic decrease in overall mortality in the intensively treated group. This is a wake-up call. It’s a whole other way of looking at blood pressure.’

The SPRINT trial led to a great deal of very comprehensive and complex new guidance for healthcare practitioners, and Dr Pecker gave a synopsis of their implications with regards to patient selection, blood pressure measurement techniques and optimisation of therapy.

The lecture was accredited locally by the Qatar Council for Healthcare Practitioners-Accreditation Department (QCHP-AD) and by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME).

For more information, visit the WCM-Q website at