Objective To examine the effect of the 2017 American College of Cardiology (ACC)/American Heart Association (AHA) hypertension guidelines on the prevalence of hypertension and eligibility for initiation and intensification of treatment in nationally representative populations from the United States and China. Design Observational assessment of nationally representative data. Setting US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) for the most recent two cycles (2013-14, 2015-16) and China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS) (2011-12). Participants All 45-75 year old adults who would have a diagnosis of hypertension and be candidates for treatment on the basis of the ACC/AHA guidelines, compared with current guidelines. Main outcome measures Diagnosis of hypertension and candidacy for initiation and intensification of antihypertensive treatment. Results Adoption of the 2017 ACC/AHA hypertension guidelines in the US would label 70.1 (95% confidence interval 64.9 to 75.3) million people in the 45-75 year age group as having hypertension, representing 63% (60.6% to 65.4%) of the population in this age group. Their adoption in China would lead to labeling of 266.9 (252.9 to 280.8) million people or 55% (53.4% to 56.7%) of the same age group as having hypertension. This would represent an increase in prevalence of 26.8% (23.2% to 30.9%) in the US and 45.1% (41.3% to 48.9%) in China. Furthermore, on the basis of treatment patterns and current guidelines, 8.1 (6.5 to 9.7) million Americans with hypertension are untreated, which would be expected to increase to 15.6 (13.6 to 17.7) million after the implementation of the ACC/AHA guidelines. In China, on the basis of current treatment patterns, 74.5 (64.1 to 84.8) million patients with hypertension are untreated, estimated to increase to 129.8 (118.7 to 140.9 million. In addition, the ACC/AHA guidelines would label 8.7 (6.0 to 11.5) million adults in the US and 51 (40.3 to 61.6) million in China as having hypertension that would not require antihypertensive treatment, compared with 1.5 (1.2 to 2.1) million and 23.4 (12.1 to 35.1) million with the current guidelines. Finally, even among people receiving treatment, the proportion that are candidates for intensification of treatment is estimated to increase by 13.9 (12.2 to 15.6) million (from 24.0% to 54.4% of treated patients) in the US, and 30 (24.3 to 35.7) million (41.4% to 76.2% of treated patients) in China, if the ACC/AHA treatment targets are adopted. Conclusions If adopted, the 2017 ACC/AHA hypertension guidelines will markedly increase the number of people labeled as having hypertension and treated with drugs in both the US and China, leading to more than half of those aged 45-75 years in both countries being considered hypertensive.
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