Apparent treatment-resistant hypertension and chronic kidney disease: another cardiovascular-renal syndrome?

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To identify patients at increased risk of cardiovascular (CV) outcomes, apparent treatment-resistant hypertension (aTRH) is defined as having a blood pressure above goal despite the use of 3 or more antihypertensive therapies of different classes at maximally tolerated doses, ideally including a diuretic. Recent epidemiologic studies in selected populations estimated the prevalence of aTRH as 10% to 15% among patients with hypertension and that aTRH is associated with elevated risk of CV and renal outcomes. Additionally, aTRH and CKD are associated. Although the pathogenesis of aTRH is multifactorial, the kidney is believed to play a significant role. Increased volume expansion, aldosterone concentration, mineralocorticoid receptor activity, arterial stiffness, and sympathetic nervous system activity are central to the pathogenesis of aTRH and are targets of therapies. Although diuretics form the basis of therapy in aTRH, pathophysiologic and clinical data suggest an important role for aldosterone antagonism. Interventional techniques, such as renal denervation and carotid baroreceptor activation, modulate the sympathetic nervous system and are currently in phase III trials for the treatment of aTRH. These technologies are as yet unproven and have not been investigated in relationship to CV outcomes or in patients with CKD.





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Vemulapalli, Sreekanth, Crystal C Tyson and Laura P Svetkey (2014). Apparent treatment-resistant hypertension and chronic kidney disease: another cardiovascular-renal syndrome?. Adv Chronic Kidney Dis, 21(6). pp. 489–499. 10.1053/j.ackd.2014.08.006 Retrieved from

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Crystal Cenell Tyson

Assistant Professor of Medicine

As a board-certified nephrologist and a certified clinical hypertension specialist (ASH-SCH), I take care of patients with kidney disorders and/or high blood pressure. Patients with chronic kidney disease and high blood pressure have an increased risk for developing complications of cardiovascular disease, such as heart attacks, congestive heart failure, strokes, kidney failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant, and a shortened lifespan. My clinical focus is to slow the progression of chronic kidney disease and reduce complications from cardiovascular disease with lifestyle modification. I particularly enjoy treating patients with severe or difficult to control high blood pressure by focusing on finding an effective medication regimen that provides the least side effects, eliminating ineffective medications, simplifying medication schedules, and promoting healthy lifestyle behavior. I see patients 2 days per week in the Duke Nephrology Clinic and the Duke Nephrology Hypertension Clinic.

My research interests are to reduce racial and health disparities among patients with hypertension and chronic kidney disease using lifestyle modifications. My past and current research investigates the effects of diet (i.e., the DASH diet, sodium reduction), exercise, and weight loss on blood pressure and kidney function, as well as the effect of bilateral renal artery denervation on blood pressure.


Laura Pat Svetkey

Professor of Medicine

Laura P. Svetkey, MD MHS is Professor of Medicine/Nephrology, Vice Chair for Faculty Development and Diversity in the Department of Medicine. She is also the Director of Duke’s CTSA-sponsored internal career development award program (KL2) and the Associate Director of Duke’s REACH Equity Disparities Research Center, in which she also leads the Investigator Development Core.

Dr. Svetkey has over 30 years of experience in the investigation of hypertension, obesity, and related areas, conducting NIH-sponsored clinical research ranging from behavioral intervention trials to metabolomics and genetics, with a consistent focus on prevention, non-pharmacologic intervention, health disparities and minority health. Her research has affected national guidelines, having served on the 2013 national Hypertension Guideline Panel (JNC) and the Lifestyle Guideline Working Group. She is an American Society of Hypertension certified hypertension specialist, and a member of the Association of American Physicians (AAP). She is the Associate Director, Core Director and Project PI of Duke’s NIH-sponsored REACH Equity Disparities Research Center (PI: Kimberly Johnson).

As Department of Medicine Vice Chair for Faculty Development and Diversity, she implements a wide range of programs to enhance the experience and advancement of faculty and trainees, with particular emphasis on those from racial and ethnic groups under-represented in medicine, and women.

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