Department of Medicine Publications

Document Type


Publication Date



Current Cardiology Reviews





First Page


Last Page


URL with Digital Object Identifier



Resistant hypertension is a major opportunity for prevention of cardiovascular disease. Despite widespread dissemination of consensus guidelines, most patients are uncontrolled with approaches that assume that all patients are the same. Causes of resistant hypertension include 1) non-compliance 2) consumption of substances that aggravate hypertension (such as salt, alcohol, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, licorice, decongestants) and 3) secondary hypertension. Selecting the appropriate therapy for a patient depends on finding the cause of the hypertension. Once rare causes have been eliminated (such as pheochromocytoma, licorice, adult coarctation of the aorta), the cause will usually be found by intelligent interpretation (in the light of medications then being taken) of plasma renin and aldosterone. If stimulated renin is low and the aldosterone is high, the problem is primary aldosteronism, and the best treatment is usually aldosterone antagonists (spironolactone or eplerenone; high-dose amiloride for men where eplerenone is not available). If the renin is high, with secondary hyperaldosteronism, the best treatment is angiotensin receptor blockers or aliskiren. If the renin and aldosterone are both low the problem is over-activity of renal sodium channels and the treatment is amiloride. This approach is particularly important in patients of African origin, who are more likely to have low-renin hypertension. © 2010 Bentham Science Publishers Ltd.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.