336. Guidelines: 2021 ESC Cardiovascular Prevention – Question #34 with Dr. Eileen Handberg

The following question refers to Section 4.7 of the 2021 ESC CV Prevention Guidelines. The question is asked by student Dr. Shivani Reddy, answered first by NP Carol Patrick, and then by expert faculty Dr. Eileen Handberg.

Dr. Handberg is an Adult Nurse Practitioner, Professor of Medicine, and Director of the Cardiovascular Clinical Trials Program in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Florida. She has served as Chair of the Cardiovascular Team Section and the Board of Trustees with the ACC and is the President Elect for the PCNA.

The CardioNerds Decipher The Guidelines Series for the 2021 ESC CV Prevention Guidelines represents a collaboration with the ACC Prevention of CVD Section, the National Lipid Association, and Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association.

Enjoy this Circulation 2022 Paths to Discovery article to learn about the CardioNerds story, mission, and values.

Ms. BW presents after her best friend was diagnosed with hypertension and is interested in measuring her own blood pressure.


According to the ESC Guidelines, what BP screening approach is recommended for making a diagnosis of hypertension?



Repeated measurements in one visit


A single measurement in a single visit


Repeated measurements in more than one visit  


Reported patient history 


The correct answer is C – Repeated measurements in more than one visit.

It is recommended to base the diagnosis of hypertension on repeated office BP measurements on more than one visit except when hypertension is severe (e.g., Grade 3—defined as SBP > 180 and/ or DBP >110mmHg—and especially in high-risk patients) (Class I, LOE C). In addition to recommending repeat measurements across visits, the guidelines provide a number of considerations for appropriately measuring blood pressure, such as taking measurements when seated in a quiet environment for 5 minutes and measuring in both arms at the first visit and using the higher-level value arm for visits thereafter (see Table 14 on page 3283).

Additionally, home blood pressure monitoring is recommended as an alternative to repeated office measurements. Blood pressure measurements are taken with a semiautomated, validated cuff for 3 consecutive days – and 6-7 days being preferred – in the morning and at night, averaged over that period. Notably, home blood pressure thresholds for the diagnosis of hypertension are lower than for that of in-office measurements, with a daytime systolic of 135mmHg or diastolic of 85mmHg given as the level at which hypertension is diagnosed, as opposed to 140mmHg and 90mmHg for systolic and diastolic levels, respectively, given for in-office diagnosis.

Main Takeaway

With the exception of those with severely elevated blood pressures, the diagnosis of hypertension requires repeated measurements across multiple office visits.

Guideline Loc.

Sections 4.7.1 and 4.7.2, Table 13 and 14, Figure 14

336. Guidelines: 2021 ESC Cardiovascular Prevention – Question #34 with Dr. Eileen Handberg
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