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WSU study finds overwhelming evidence of hidden heart disease in hypertensive African-Americans
Date:6/8/2012

DETROIT A Wayne State University School of Medicine study has found that an overwhelming majority of African-American patients with hypertension also suffered hidden heart disease caused by high blood pressure even though they displayed no symptoms.

The study "Subclinical Hypertensive Heart Disease in African-American Patients with Elevated Blood Pressure in an Inner-City Emergency Department" was conducted by Phillip Levy, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor of Emergency Medicine, and was recently published online in Annals of Emergency Medicine.

Nine of every 10 patients tested suffered hidden heart damage caused by high blood pressure, the study found. While slightly more than 93 percent of 161 patients in the study had a history of hypertension, 90.7 percent tested positive for hidden hypertensive heart disease. None of them knew their high blood pressure was affecting their hearts and did not show any symptomatic signs of heart disease.

"These results present a tremendous opportunity to screen for heart disease before it becomes symptomatic, especially in a population with high rates of hypertension," Levy said. "If we can detect incipient heart disease early, we have a better shot at treating it before it turns into a full-blown health emergency. Our study is also a strong reminder that emergency patients with chronic disease in this case, hypertension are generally a high-risk group."

The patients were enrolled in the study after appearing at the emergency room of Detroit Receiving Hospital. They did not come to the hospital for heart disease symptoms. Once enrolled in the study, they underwent echocardiograms, which revealed the hypertensive heart disease. Of the total 161 patients, 93.8 percent were inner-city African-Americans; 51.6 percent were male. The mean age of the patients enrolled was 49.8 years.

Most of the patients (93.8 percent) had a history of high blood pressure and were aware that t
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Contact: Julie O'Connor
julie.oconnor@wayne.edu
313-577-8845
Wayne State University - Office of the Vice President for Research
Source:Eurekalert

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