ACC/AHA Versus ESC/ESH on Hypertension Guidelines: JACC Guideline Comparison

George Bakris, Waleed Ali, Gianfranco Parati

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This study compares the recommendations of the most recent American College of Cardiology (ACC)/American Heart Association (AHA) and European Society of Cardiology (ESC)/European Society of Hypertension (ESH) blood pressure guidelines. Both guidelines represent updates of previous guidelines and reinforce previous concepts of prevention regarding elevated blood pressure. Specifically, a low-sodium diet, exercise, body weight reduction, low to moderate alcohol intake, and adequate potassium intake are emphasized. Overall, both guidelines agree on the proper method of blood pressure measurement, the use of home blood pressure and ambulatory monitoring, and restricted use of beta-blockers as first-line therapy. The major disagreements are with the level of blood pressure defining hypertension, flexibility in identifying blood pressure targets for treatment, and the use of initial combination therapy. Although initial single-pill combination therapy is strongly recommended in both guidelines, the ESC/ESH guideline recommends it as initial therapy in patients at ≥140/90 mm Hg. The ACC/AHA guideline recommends its use in patients >20/10 mm Hg above blood pressure goal. Thus, the only real disagreement is that the ACC/AHA guidelines maintain that all people with blood pressure >130/80 mm Hg have hypertension, and blood pressure should be lowered to <130/80 mm Hg in all. In contrast, the ESC/ESH guidelines state that hypertension is defined as >140/90 mm Hg, with the goal being a level <140/90 mm Hg for all targeting to <130/80 mm Hg only in those at high cardiovascular risk, but always considering individual tolerability of the proposed goal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3018-3026
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - Jun 18 2019


  • blood pressure
  • guidelines
  • hypertension
  • lifestyle
  • mortality
  • outcomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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