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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1680-5348Print version ISSN 1020-4989


ORDUNEZ, Pedro; SILVA, Luis Carlos; RODRIGUEZ, María Paz  and  ROBLES, Sylvia. Prevalence estimates for hypertension in Latin America and the Caribbean: are they useful for surveillance?. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2001, vol.10, n.4, pp.226-231. ISSN 1680-5348.

Objective. To apply a recently proposed model and assessment tool created by the authors for critically evaluating the data available on the prevalence of hypertension in LAC and assessing their usefulness for surveillance. Methods. A bibliographic search to identify all publications that estimated the prevalence of hypertension was performed. Each of the papers located was assessed using a critical appraisal tool. Results. Of the 58 studies published between 1966 and 2000, only 28 of them (48%) met the critical threshold to be considered useful for surveillance purposes. The distribution of the 28 studies in terms of their usefulness for surveillance was as follows: minimally useful, 16 studies; useful, 8 studies; and very useful, 4 studies. Several methodological shortcomings were identified, from inadequate sampling procedures and sample size to the poor quality of the primary data for planning purposes. Discussion. Published studies on the prevalence of hypertension in Latin America and the Caribbean have, as a whole, limited usefulness for surveillance activities.

Keywords : Surveillance; prevalence; hypertension; risk factors; research methodology.

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