OBJECTIVE: The risk chart from the European Society of Hypertension (ESH) and Systemic Coronary Risk Evaluation (SCORE) from the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) are equally recommended tools for risk stratification. However, ESH risk chart recommends measuring subclinical organ damage, whereas SCORE is based on traditional risk factors. We wanted to compare the predictive performance of the two charts. METHODS: In a Danish population sample of 1344 individuals aged 41, 51, 61 and 71 years without known diabetes, prior stroke or myocardial infarction, not receiving cardiovascular, antidiabetic or lipid-lowering medications and with higher than optimal blood pressure (ĝ‰¥120/80 mmHg), we measured traditional risk factors and subclinical organ damage. The endpoints were cardiovascular death and a composite of cardiovascular death, nonfatal myocardial infarction and stroke (CEP). RESULTS: During the following 12.8 years cardiovascular death and CEP occurred in 71 and 132 patients, respectively. Forty-two percent had unrecognized hypertension. The sizes and characteristics of the populations in the different risk categories of the charts varied considerably as ESH risk chart allocated 368 patients to higher-risk categories than SCORE (P < 0.001). These patients were younger, with higher blood pressure and less frequently male smokers. However, ESH risk chart agreed with ESC guidelines for antihypertensive treatment using SCORE in 89% (634/713) of the patients recommended treatment and produced similar sensitivities (79 vs. 79%), specificities (46 vs. 50%), positive (14 vs. 15%) and negative (95 vs. 96%) predictive values for CEP. CONCLUSION: Although SCORE did not use subclinical organ damage, the guidelines by ESH and ESC using SCORE recommended antihypertensive treatment in almost the same patients.