National Health Associations Issue Call to Prioritize Blood Pressure Control

The American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Medical Association (AMA), recently announced a new nationwide initiative aimed at addressing the growing burden of high blood pressure in the United States.

Target: BP™ will support physicians and care teams in helping their patients with high blood pressure reach a blood pressure goal of lower than 140/90 mm Hg, based on current AHA guidelines.

Although Target: BP is the first major collaborative initiative between the AHA and AMA, both organizations have long recognized high blood pressure as a major health threat. Both already have a number of practice and community-based initiatives and online tools that are helping physicians improve blood pressure control among their patients and helping people understand and improve their high blood pressure. They’ll now synergize these efforts into a campaign that will further assist both providers and patients by enhancing high blood pressure awareness, understanding and management.

As part of Target: BP, hospitals, medical practices, practitioners and health services organizations will work with the AHA and AMA to raise awareness about high blood pressure and commit to high levels of control in their patient populations. Participants will work with the latest AHA guidelines on blood pressure, aiming for readings of lower than 140/90 mm Hg for each patient, with goals adjusted as new data drives any guideline revisions in the future. AHA and AMA will provide these groups with tools and resources, including the AHA/ACC/CDC Hypertension Treatment Algorithm, for achieving this goal and will recognize those who attain high levels of control.

Data from the landmark Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT) supports recommendations for keeping blood pressure low.

AHA President Mark Creager, MD, said the SPRINT data is being systematically examined by the AHA/ACC Hypertension Guideline Writing Committee in consideration of any guideline revisions.

“The SPRINT results underscore our long-standing position to detect and aggressively treat people with high blood pressure,” said Creager, and director of the Heart and Vascular Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire “Currently, only about half of Americans with high blood pressure are achieving our recommended blood pressure reading of below 140/90 mm Hg. With Target: BP, we’ll equip healthcare providers and their patients with information and tools, to help keep blood pressure under control. By controlling blood pressure, we can potentially prevent progression to other serious threats to heart and brain health.”

“For several years, the AMA has been keenly focused on the millions of Americans who have uncontrolled hypertension,” said AMA President Steven J. Stack, MD “This new collaboration will significantly build on the work we’ve already begun to improve cardiovascular health. As an emergency physician, I’ve seen first-hand the devastating impact of heart disease and I’m personally proud to be a part of a national effort that will not only save lives, but help people live healthier and happier lives.”

Healthcare leaders across the country have noted that improving blood pressure control will take a concerted, focused and ongoing effort by many. Target: BP complements and expands on existing work, including the Department of Health and Human Services’ Million Hearts® initiative aimed at preventing one million heart attacks and strokes by 2017.

“Centers for Disease Control and Prevention research reveals high blood pressure was a primary or contributing cause of death for more than 360,000 Americans in 2013 – that’s nearly 1,000 deaths each day,” said Dr. Janet Wright, Executive Director of Million Hearts. “Getting blood pressures into the safe zone, through initiatives like Target: BP, means that millions more people will lead longer, healthier lives.”

To learn more about Target: BP and join this movement to save lives, visit

Learn how atom Alliance provides technical assistance to help providers and practitioners develop strategies for reaching and educating patients to prevent heart attacks and strokes.