Book review: Fast Facts: Hypertension (fifth edition)

Alison Crumbie reviews the fifth edition of Fast Facts: Hypertension. 


Updates in the fifth edition of Fast Facts: Hypertension include new guidance on fourth-line therapy for resistant hypertension and latest thinking on BP treatment thresholds.

A strength of this book is the focus on lifestyle
and the rationale behind healthy diets.

The measurement of blood pressure and the effective treatment of hypertension is an area of practice that is especially important for nurses working in primary care. For this reason, a handy book that summarises the most important aspects of this area of practice would be welcome.

Unfortunately, this text seems to have been written for an international audience, resulting in a lack of clear guidance on the diagnosis and management of hypertension. The text refers to ‘guidelines suggest’ without any referencing, and the reader is left wondering which guidelines are being used and whether these are relevant to clinicians in the UK or other countries.

The most important, and basic, aspect of the book regarding how to take an accurate and reliable blood pressure reading does not provide enough information about the technique of carrying it out or interpreting the results. There is no guidance on the number of readings needed to confirm accuracy.

Moreover, there is inadequate coverage of ambulatory and home blood pressure monitoring - both of which now play an important role in diagnosis.

A strength of this book is the focus on lifestyle and the rationale behind salt reduction, healthy diets and increasing activity. Additionally, there is some useful information regarding the pathophysiology of hypertension and the consequences of poor management.

However, it is not essential reading for UK nurses, unless it is read with a highly critical eye, and awareness that guidance for practice is better sought from the British Hypertension Society, Lothian and NICE guidelines.

Graham MacGregor and Michael Stowasser | Fast Facts | £15.00 | 96pp ISBN: 9781910797037

Reviewed by Alison Crumbie, nurse lead at Windermere and Bowness Medical Practice, One Medical Group, Windermere, Cumbria

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