Prevalence of True Therapeutic Inertia in Blood Pressure Control in an Academic Chronic Kidney Disease Clinic


Address for correspondence: Nayan Desai, MD, Department of Medicine, Cooper University Hospital, E & R Building, 401 Haddon Avenue, Third floor, Camden, NJ 08103



Therapeutic inertia (TI) in blood pressure (BP) control has been traditionally defined as failure to initiate or intensify therapy when treatment goals are not met. The fallacy with this definition is that TI may be overestimated because it includes hypertensive patients deliberately uncontrolled. This is a retrospective chart review study that evaluated physicians' response to an uncontrolled clinic BP reading in a population of patients with stage 3 to 5 chronic kidney disease (CKD) and hypertension. Of 429 patients screened, 166 had controlled BP and 263 did not. Of these 263 patients, 115 patients had no clear reason documented for the absence of changes in medication regimen. This population was defined as cases with true TI. In the remaining 148 patients, the medication regimen was changed in 81 patients. In the rest of the patients, there was a reason documented for not changing the medication regimen. The prevalence of true TI rate (defined as percentage of uncontrolled hypertension as a result of physician inaccountability) in our study was 44% as compared with 69% if the traditional TI definition is applied. Thus, we conclude that the prevalence of TI in the literature overestimates the rate of true TI as it does not account for physician decision making. The current definition of TI in BP control needs to be revised, as it underestimates a provider's care to improve BP control and is misleading. The TI definition should include some mechanism to account for interventions beyond medication titration.