Open Access Research article

HYPEST study: profile of hypertensive patients in Estonia

Elin Org1*, Gudrun Veldre12, Margus Viigimaa34, Peeter Juhanson1, Margus Putku1, Mai Rosenberg5, Kärt Tomberg17, Tiina Uuetoa6 and Maris Laan1*

Author Affiliations

1 Human Molecular Genetics Research Group, Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia

2 Department of Cardiology, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia

3 Tallinn University of Technology, Institute of Biomedical Engineering, Tallinn, Estonia

4 Centre of Cardiology, North Estonia Medical Centre, Tallinn, Estonia

5 Department of Internal Medicine, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia

6 Centre of Cardiology of Clinics of Internal Medicine, East Tallinn Clinicum, Tallinn, Estonia

7 Department of Human Genetics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

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BMC Cardiovascular Disorders 2011, 11:55  doi:10.1186/1471-2261-11-55

Published: 31 August 2011



More than one third of adult population in Estonia has problems with elevated blood pressure (BP). The Hypertension in Estonia (HYPEST) study represents the country's first hypertension-targeted sample collection aiming to examine the epidemiological and genetic determinants for hypertension (HTN) and related cardiovascular diseases (CVD) in Estonian population. The HYPEST subjects (n = 1,966) were recruited across Estonia between 2004-2007 including clinically diagnosed HTN cases and population-based controls. The present report is focused on the clinical and epidemiological profile of HYPEST cases, and gender-specific effects on the pathophysiology of hypertension.


Current analysis was performed on 1,007 clinically diagnosed HTN patients (617 women and 390 men) aged 18-85 years. The hypertensives were recruited to the study by BP specialists at the North Estonia Medical Center, Centre of Cardiology, Tallinn or at the Cardiology Clinic, Tartu University Hospital, Estonia. Longitudinal BP data was extracted retrospectively from clinical records. Current and retrospective data of patient's medical history, medication intake and lifestyle habits were derived from self-administrated questionnaire and each variable was examined separately for men and women. Eleven biochemical parameters were measured from fasting serum samples of 756 patients.


The distribution of recruited men and women was 39% and 61% respectively. Majority of Estonian HTN patients (85%) were overweight (BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2) and a total of 79% of patients had additional complications with cardiovascular system. In men, the hypertension started almost 5 years earlier than in women (40.5 ± 14.5 vs 46.1 ± 12.7 years), which led to earlier age of first myocardial infarction (MI) and overall higher incidence rate of MI among male patients (men 21.2%, women 8.9%, P < 0.0001). Heart arrhythmia, thyroid diseases, renal tubulo-intestinal diseases and hyperlipidemia were more prevalent in hypertensive women compared to men (P < 0.0001). An earlier age of HTN onset was significantly associated with smoking (P = 0.00007), obesity (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2; P = 0.0003), increased stress (P = 0.0003) and alcohol consumption (P = 0.004).


Understanding the clinical profile of HTN patients contributes to CVD management. Estonian hypertension patients exhibited different disease and risk profiles of male and female patients. This well-characterized sample set provides a good resource for studying hypertension and other cardiovascular phenotypes.