The hypertensive patient with multiple risk factors: Is treatment really so difficult?

Alberto Zanchetti

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Multiple risk factors for cardiovascular disease, particularly hypercholesterolemia, are often present in the hypertensive patient. Recent guidelines, ranging from those prepared by the World Health Organization/International Society of Hypertension to those of the three European Societies of Cardiology, Atherosclerosis, and Hypertension, stress the importance of evaluating global risk, based on the presence of all cardiovascular risk factors in an individual or in a group of subjects. It has also been suggested that treatment should aim to correct all modifiable risk factors. This is a reasonable recommendation, but although observational epidemiologic studies have shown that the effects of concomitant risk factors are additive, if not multiplicative, it is surprising that no intervention trial has been undertaken to determine whether the benefits of treating more than one risk factor are also additive. The Plaque Hypertension Lipid- Lowering Italian Study (PHYLLIS) is the first such study. Its aim is to investigate the potential benefit of lowering blood pressure and plasma cholesterol on the progression of carotid plaque in hypertensive patients with elevated plasma cholesterol. Using a factorial design, the antiatherosclerotic effect of two different antihypertensive drugs, the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor fosinopril and the diuretic hydrochlorothiazide will be compared. The study aims to confirm animal experiments demonstrating the benefit of ACE inhibitors on experimental atherosclerosis. PHYLLIS will also compare the effects of two lipid-lowering regimens, diet plus placebo and diet plus pravastatin, in the study population. This 3-year, multicenter, double-blind, randomized Italian study, using B-mode ultrasound evaluation of the carotid walls with central reading of the ultrasound scans (Bowman Gray University, Winston-Salem, NC) is now underway and should provide useful evidence about the benefits of multiple risk factor treatment in the hypertensive patient.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Hypertension
Issue number10 II SUPPL.
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1997


  • Fosinopril
  • Hydrochlorothiazide
  • Hypercholesterolemia
  • Hypertension
  • Pravastatin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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