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Hypertension: Complications

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Hypertension: Complications

A number of epidemiological studies have identified hypertension as one of the key risk factors for coronary heart disease (CHD), heart failure, cerebrovascular disease, peripheral artery disease (PAD), renal failure, atrial fibrillation, cognitive decline and hypertensive retinopathy.1 Lowering blood pressure will help to reduce this risk in those who do yet have these conditions. In those with existing damage, it is vital that blood pressure is reduced and controlled to reduce the potential for further damage. The aims of managing hypertension are to reduce the risk of target organ damage and to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

This resource, consisting of five assessment questions at advanced level, tests your understanding of the complications of hypertension. Complete the resource, including reading the featured articles and undertaking some or all of the activities, to obtain a certificate for one hour of continuing professional development to include in your annual portfolio.

Aims and objectives

On completion of this resource you should have an understanding of;

  • The potential complications caused by hypertension
  • The impact that target organ damage has on treatment options
  • Which symptoms of hypertension require urgent action
  • Other investigations that can be carried out to identify target organ damage
  • The importance of not looking at hypertension in isolation


1. European Guidelines on Cardiovascular Disease Prevention in Clinical Practice. European Heart Journal 2012: 33, 1635-1701

2. NICE CG 127. Hypertension: Clinical management of primary hypertension in adults, 2011,

3. Joint British Societies guidelines on prevention of cardiovascular disease in clinical practice. (JBS3),2014

Practice Nurse featured articles

Hypertension for the Practice Nurse Dr Mary Lowth

Peripheral arterial disease Dr Ed Warren

Recommended reading

JBS3 Board cardiovascular disease (JBS3) recommendations for the prevention of Joint British Societies' consensus Joint British Societies 3 (JBS3) Guidelines. Heart 2014:91:v1-52

Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN). Risk estimation and the prevention of cardiovascular disease. A national clinical guideline, February 2007.

NICE CG 127. Hypertension: Clinical management of primary hypertension in adults, 2011,

Date of preparation: March 2014

Review date: March 2015