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Press release

Healthcare Leaders Plea to Reinstate the Canadian Hypertension Control Program to Prevent Death and Disability

Philadelphia | February 26, 2024

An editorial published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology calls for the re-establishment of the national hypertension coalition

A passionate plea for the reestablishment of Canada's health coalition focused on hypertension prevention and control appears as an editorialopens in new tab/window in the Canadian Journal of Cardiologyopens in new tab/window, published by Elsevier. "We need a national hypertension control program to prevent death and disability," according to prominent healthcare leaders.

Lead author of the editorial Norm R.C. Campbell, MD, Department of Medicine, University of Calgary, explains, "Hypertension is a leading cause of death and disability in Canada; globally it causes about one in five deaths (19.2%). However, it is possible to reduce that markedly. Throughout my career in healthcare, I have worked on controlling our population's hypertension. What was achieved in Canada was highly unique; Canada used to be the most successful country in controlling hypertension by a large margin and one of the best at prevention."

The editorial describes the pivotal role Canadian coalitions had in the prevention and control of hypertension. In Canada, the delivery of healthcare is a provincial and territorial responsibility, whereas the federal government sets and administers national standards for the healthcare system through the Canada Health Act as well as many nutrition policies. Given the burden of disease associated with increased blood pressure, the Canadian federal and provincial governments released a hypertension strategy in 1986 calling for a coalition of governmental and non-governmental organizations to oversee strategy implementation.

Professor Campbell says, "In recent years, I have seen the Canadian hypertension control coalition and program fall apart while other countries are building much better national programs to control hypertension. As a result, hypertension control in Canada has been declining for the last decade. Hypertension prevention and control on a population scale are proven methods to prevent death and disability as well as reducing healthcare costs. We need to reestablish our national program to save lives."

Ross Tsuyuki, PharmD, President, Hypertension Canadaopens in new tab/window, concurs with Professor Campbell's assessment, and says, "Hypertension Canada is highly concerned about declining control of blood pressure leading to increased death and disability in Canadians. Canada has become complacent. Hypertension Canada is committed to helping reestablish a coalition to bring the stakeholders, being healthcare providers and governments, to the table to address this problem."

Hypertension prevention can save lives, according to an editorial published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology (Credit: Gettyimages/J_art).

Patrice Lindsay, RN, PhD, Lead, PWLE Engagement and Stroke Strategy at the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canadaopens in new tab/window, adds, “Heart & Stroke recognizes high blood pressure as the leading risk factor for stroke and a major risk factor for heart disease. We strongly support initiatives that will lead to measurable increases in diagnosis, treatment, and control of high blood pressure and result in reductions in death and hospitalization from cardiovascular disease. These measures will improve outcomes and quality of life for individuals affected by high blood pressure."

Prevention of high blood pressure can occur at different levels.

Via various public health interventions, such as promoting healthy diets, regular physical activity, reducing alcohol consumption, and maintaining a healthy body weight and composition.

Via clinical interventions, such as advising a healthy lifestyle and drug treatments.

Professor Campbell: "Healthy lifestyles are hard for people to implement in our unhealthy environments; they take time and lots of support. Drug treatment is highly effective and fast and can save money or be cost-effective. Sadly, our clinical interventions are in decline."

The global model to prevent non-communicable disease (NCD) – that account for about 90% of deaths and 85% of disability in Canada – and strengthen primary care is the World Health Organization (WHO)'s HEARTS initiative. HEARTS uses hypertension control as the “entry point” for NCD prevention and control in primary care.

Professor Campbell: "While many public health professionals focus clinical interventions on infections like Covid-19, influenza, and the RS virus, the real issue impacting death and disability in Canada is prevention and control of NCDs. HEARTS is an established global model for Canada to use to rebuild primary care to reduce death rates and prevent NCDs."

Professor Campbell concludes, "Winston Churchill stated, ’never let a good crisis go to waste.’ In Canada, we have an opportunity to build a much stronger collaborative federated health system focused on global best practices to prevent and control our major causes of death and disability, increasing quality of life, and saving health costs. It does not require much innovation or intellect but does require a strong ability to collaborate with the current global best practice being WHO HEARTS."

Notes for editors

The article is “The Urgent Need to Re-establish a Health Coalition Focused on Hypertension Prevention and Control in Canada,” by Norm R.C. Campbell, MD, Donald W. McKay, PhD, Robert Petrella, MD, PhD, and Janusz Kaczorowski, PhD ( in new tab/window). It appears online ahead of the Canadian Journal of Cardiology, volume 40, issue 4, (April 2024) published by Elsevier.

The article is openly available for 30 days at in new tab/window.

Full text of the article is also available to credentialed journalists upon request. Contact Eileen Leahy at +1 732 406 1313or [email protected]opens in new tab/window for a copy of the PDF or more information. Journalists wishing to speak to the authors should contact Dr. Norm R.C. Campbell at +1 403-560-6418 or [email protected]opens in new tab/window.

About the Canadian Journal of Cardiology

The Canadian Journal of Cardiologyopens in new tab/window is the official journal of the Canadian Cardiovascular Societyopens in new tab/window. It is a vehicle for the international dissemination of new knowledge in cardiology and cardiovascular science, particularly serving as a major venue for the results of Canadian cardiovascular research and Society guidelines. The journal publishes original reports of clinical and basic research relevant to cardiovascular medicine as well as editorials, review articles, case reports, and papers on health outcomes, policy research, ethics, medical history, and political issues affecting practice. www.onlinecjc.caopens in new tab/window

About the Editor-in-Chief

Editor-in-Chief Stanley Nattel, MD, is Paul-David Chair in Cardiovascular Electrophysiology and Professor of Medicine at the University of Montreal and Director of the Electrophysiology Research Program at the Montreal Heart Institute Research Center.

About the Canadian Cardiovascular Society (CCS)

The CCSopens in new tab/window is the national voice for cardiovascular clinicians and scientists, representing more than 2,300 cardiologists, cardiac surgeons and other heart health specialists across Canada. We advance heart health for all by setting standards for excellence in heart health and care, building the knowledge and expertise of the heart team, and influencing policy and advocating for the heart health of all Canadians. For further information on the CCS visit in new tab/window.

About Elsevier

As a global leader in scientific information and analytics, Elsevier helps researchers and healthcare professionals advance science and improve health outcomes for the benefit of society. We do this by facilitating insights and critical decision-making with innovative solutions based on trusted, evidence-based content and advanced AI-enabled digital technologies.

We have supported the work of our research and healthcare communities for more than 140 years. Our 9,500 employees around the world, including 2,500 technologists, are dedicated to supporting researchers, librarians, academic leaders, funders, governments, R&D-intensive companies, doctors, nurses, future healthcare professionals and educators in their critical work. Our 2,900 scientific journals and iconic reference books include the foremost titles in their fields, including Cell Press, The Lancet and Gray’s Anatomy.

Together with the Elsevier Foundationopens in new tab/window, we work in partnership with the communities we serve to advance inclusion and diversity in science, research and healthcare in developing countries and around the world.

Elsevier is part of RELXopens in new tab/window, a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers. For more information on our work, digital solutions and content, visit



Eileen Leahy


+1 732 406 1313

E-mail Eileen Leahy