NCHR Comments on USPSTF’s Draft Recommendation Regarding Screening for Hypertension in Adults

July 20, 2020.

National Center for Health Research’s Public Comments on United States Preventive Services Task Force’s Draft Recommendation Regarding Screening for Hypertension in Adults

We are writing to express our views on the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) draft recommendation statement regarding screening for hypertension in adults.

The National Center for Health Research is a nonprofit think tank that conducts, analyzes, and scrutinizes research on a range of health issues, with particular focus on which prevention strategies and treatments are most effective for which patients and consumers. We do not accept funding from companies that make products that are the subject of our work, so we have no conflicts of interest.

We support USPSTF’s reaffirmation of the 2015 recommendation statement on screening for high blood pressure in adults based on new scientific evidence and agree with USPSTF’s ‘A’ grade. As mentioned in the recommendation statement, hypertension affects almost half of the adult population in the United States and is often asymptomatic. Hypertension increases the risk for cardiovascular events and diseases. Screening for hypertension has been demonstrated to be an effective preventative measure against common conditions resulting from high blood pressure, such as heart failure, heart attack, stroke, and chronic kidney disease.[1] Thus, we agree that the benefits of screening substantially outweigh the risks.

Although there is still limited research regarding optimal screening intervals, we agree with USPSTF’s recommendation to annually screen adults ages 40 or older, as well as those who are at increased risk of hypertension, including African Americans, people who previously had “high-normal” blood pressure, and people who are overweight. We also agree that it is appropriate to screen people aged 18 to 39 who are not at an increased risk less frequently, e.g. every 3 to 5 years.

The National Center for Health Research can be reached at or at (202) 223-4000.

1. Ostchega Y, Fryar C, Nwankwo T, Nguyen DT. Hypertension prevalence among adults aged 18 and over: United States, 2017–2018. 2020.