C-reactive protein and echocardiography have little impact on risk stratification in never-treated hypertensive patients
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The aim of this study was to assess the contribution of increased concentrations of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) and echocardiography to risk stratification according to the 2003 European guidelines for the management of arterial hypertension in patients with untreated hypertension. A total of 207 consecutive medical outpatients with untreated hypertension were included. History and clinical examination, electrocardiography, laboratory analyses including the measurement of hsCRP and echocardiography were performed in all patients. Patients were classified into four risk groups with and without using echocardiography and hsCRP concentrations of at least 10 mg/l according to the 2003 guidelines for the management of hypertension. The majority of the 207 patients (81%) were at moderate or high cardiovascular risk before adding echocardiography and/or hsCRP to the risk stratification process. When echocardiography was included, only three patients were reclassified from the moderate added risk to the high added risk group. Adding hsCRP concentrations of at least 10 mg/l had no impact on risk stratification. Using an hsCRP cutoff level of 3 mg/l, one patient was at moderate instead of low added risk, eight patients were at high instead of moderate added risk and one patient was at very high instead of high added risk. We conclude that hsCRP at the proposed cutoff level of 10 mg/l has no impact on risk stratification in outpatients with untreated hypertension. An hsCRP cutoff level of 3 mg/l may be more suitable for risk stratification. Finally, our data suggest that depending on the population studied, there is minimal impact of echocardiography on risk stratification.
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