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Keywords:

  • plasma renin activity;
  • hypertension;
  • hypertension treatment;
  • salt-sensitive hypertension;
  • low-renin hypertension;
  • renin-angiotensin system

Despite the wide array of antihypertensive agents and the availability of national guidelines regarding treatment for hypertension, the disease remains uncontrolled in nearly 50% of affected patients. Furthermore, the number of patients with resistant hypertension continues to increase. For patients with resistant hypertension, the American Heart Association has advocated for clinical studies to determine appropriate pharmacologic treatment strategies. One proposed strategy involves ambulatory measurement of plasma renin activity (PRA) to guide the selection of antihypertensive therapy. Patients with low PRA would be prescribed natriuretic volume-mediated therapies (e.g., diuretics and calcium channel blockers), whereas those with high PRA would receive antirenin system therapies (e.g., β-blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, and angiotensin II receptor blockers). This review focuses on the principles of PRA-guided therapy, its historical development, alternative approaches to classifying patients into categories of response to antihypertensive agents, and recent data supporting the use of plasma renin activity–guided hypertension management.