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Minerva Medica 2021 Apr 09

DOI: 10.23736/S0026-4806.21.07502-9


language: English

Hypertension in older persons: why one size does not fit all

Andrea UNGAR 1, 2 , Giulia RIVASI 1, Antonio COSCARELLI 1, Alessandro BOCCANELLI 2, Niccolò MARCHIONNI 2, Paolo ALBONI 2, Samuele BALDASSERONI 2, Mario BO 2, Giuseppe PALAZZO 2, Renzo ROZZINI 2, Pierfranco TERROSU 2, Francesco VETTA 2, Giovanni ZITO 2, Giovambattista DESIDERI 2, 3

1 Department of Geriatric and Intensive Care Medicine, Hypertension Clinic, Careggi Hospital and University of Florence, Florence, Italy; 2 SICGe Società Italiana di Cardiologia Geriatrica, Florence, Italy; 3 Department of Life, Health and Environmental Sciences, University of L'Aquila, L'Aquila, Italy


Over recent years, managing hypertension in older people has gained increasing attention, with particular reference to very old, frailer individuals. In these patients, hypertension treatment may be challenging due to a higher risk of hypotension-related adverse events which commonly overlaps with a higher cardiovascular risk. Additionally, frailer older adults rarely satisfy inclusion criteria of randomized clinical trials, which determines a substantial lack of scientific data. Although limited, available evidence suggests that the association between blood pressure and adverse outcomes significantly varies at advanced age according to frailty status. In particular, the negative prognostic impact of hypertension seems to attenuate or even revert in individuals with older biological age, e.g. patients with disability, cognitive impairment, and poor physical performance. Consequently, one size doesn't fit all and personalized treatment strategies are needed, customized to individuals’ frailty and functional status. Similar to other cardiovascular diseases, hypertension management in older people should be characterized by a geriatric approach based on biological rather than chronological age and a geriatric comprehensive evaluation including frailty assessment is required to provide the most appropriate treatment, tailored to patients’ prognosis and health care goals. This review illustrates the importance of a patient-centered geriatric approach to hypertension management in older people with the final purpose to promote a wider implementation of frailty assessment in routine practice.

KEY WORDS: Hypertension; Frail older adults; Blood pressure; Geriatric assessment; Frailty

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