Hypertension with related cardiovascular morbidity and mortality has become the number one cause of death in Lithuania as well as in Europe and around the world. In the early 90s the need for an organised society to control the prevalence of hypertension in Lithuania and to fight the spread of related negative outcomes became clear. In 1993 the Lithuanian Hypertension League was founded, bringing together a number of various medical, scientific and other specialists. The initiator and the founder of the League was Professor G. Sakalnikas. The following year Lithuanian Hypertension League entered the World Hypertension League. On the 29th of March, 1995 it was ratified by the Lithuanian government.
The number of its members expanded quite rapidly and already by the year 2000 reached more than 1000 members from various medical and scientific fields.
The League established local branches in various regions throughout Lithuania. During later years, however, the need for more international involvement became obvious. In 2006 the IVth Nordic-Baltic Hypertension Meeting was organized in Vilnius. This was an exciting medical and scientific event, which attracted more than 700 participants from Europe and overseas. Another big scientific event was the Lithuanian Hypertension Congress in 2008 with more than 600 participants.
The Lithuanian Hypertension League was transformed into the Lithuanian Hypertension Society during this meeting. A new board was elected, as were also the new President (Professor A. Laucevicius) and new Vice-President (Associate Professor M. Miglinas). The Lithuanian Hypertension Society set up a clear vision to reduce hypertension related morbidity and mortality within the country. New strategies to achieve the goals of organization were defined:
Organization Specific Data
Community Centric Process
Expert, Experienced Leadership
Continuous Quality Improvement
Translation of Science into Practice
Dissemination and Implementation of Clinical Guidelines
Improvement of Healthcare Access for All
Mass Media Population Strategies
Following the new strategies and goals many fresh activities appeared on the scene. The Lithuanian Hypertension Society in collaboration with European Society of Hypertension organized two Hypertension Mastercourses in 2007 and 2008.
There were many activities over the last year. The Lithuanian Hypertension Society took part in the activities of World Action on Salt and Health. It supported the World Salt Awareness Week from 2nd-8th February 2009. The theme was „Salt and Eating Out‟. Lithuanian activities included the involvement of hypertension experts, representatives from the health and education ministries, the media and the catering industry. Lithuania held a series of TV and radio interviews and achieved national media coverage. The Lithuanian Hypertension Society also distributed posters & leaflets advocating reduced salt intake. World Kidney Day (WKD), jointly hosted by the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) and the International Federation of Kidney Foundations (IFKF) was also on the Lithuanian Hypertension Society activities‘ list. The Lithuanian Hypertension Society organized the scientific meeting (in co-operation with Lithuanian Nephrology, Dialysis and Transplant Association) in Siauliai on 13th March, 2009. The meeting was a great success with the message „Keep the pressure down‟. More than 200 participants took part in this event. Lithuanian Hypertension Society also supported World Hypertension Day (held on 17th May 2009). It‟s Annual Scientific Meeting took place on 15th May 2009 and was dedicated to World Hypertension Day. „Salt and blood pressure: Two silent killers‟ was the main theme of the meeting. Salt is the major factor putting up blood pressure worldwide with no exception in Lithuania, where salt intake is very high and strategies to reduce it are just evolving. The meeting also focused on the implementation of hypertension treatment guidelines in clinical practice, ambulatory blood pressure monitoring, secondary hypertension, target-organ damage in hypertension and recent clinical trials in hypertension. 250 participants from Lithuania were present at this event. In summary, the Lithuanian Hypertension Society organizes the scientific study of hypertension syndrome prevalence in the Lithuanian population and provides science-based recommendations for hypertension prevention and treatment. In cooperation with the Ministry of Health, academic institutions and international organizations, the Society unites medical practitioners' efforts to fight hypertension-related adverse effects on human health. It convenes conferences and organizes seminars, workshops, short training courses and national and international symposia. It also publishes one-time publications, promotes popular medical literature about hypertension issues, and represents its members in Lithuania and abroad.
Assoc. Prof. Marius Miglinas Vice-President, Lithuanian Hypertension Society