High blood pressure (BP)
is estimated to cause 7.5
million deaths every year worldwide. BP levels have shown to be linked to
cardiovascular events such as heart
Now a new study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH),
indicates that more intensive management of high BP could significantly Reduces Rates of
in elder adults, and lowers risk of death.
The Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT) compared two
groups of individuals taking blood pressure medication and having at least one
additional risk factor for heart disease. The landmark study including more
than 9,300 participants aged 50 years, and above began in 2009. The
participants from diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds were recruited from various
medical centers and clinical practices in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. The study
did not consider individuals with diabetes, prior stroke, or polycystic kidney
For one group, the target systolic pressure was 120 millimeters of
mercury (mm Hg) while for the other, it was kept at 140 mm Hg. Systolic blood
pressure is the upper reading of blood pressure
. For example, if a
blood pressure is read as 120/80 mm of Hg, 120 is the systolic pressure and 80
is the diastolic pressure. The first group in the study required an average or
2 blood pressure medications, while the second required an average of 3 blood
pressure medications to reach the target systolic blood pressure.
The results showed that the treatment that targeted a systolic pressure
of 120 mm Hg, brought cardiovascular events down by almost a third and the risk
of death by almost a quarter in the participants of the study as compared to
the other group.
Gary H. Gibbons, M.D., director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood
Institute (NHLBI), said that the study provides potentially lifesaving
"Healthcare providers can use our results when they consider the
best treatment options for patients at the age of 50 and above. We are
delighted to have achieved this important milestone in the study in advance of
the expected closure date for the SPRINT trial and look forward to quickly
communicating the results to help inform patient care and the future
development of evidence-based clinical guidelines," said Gibbons.
"Our results provide important evidence that treating BP to a lower
goal in older or high-risk patients can be beneficial and yield better health
results overall. But patients should talk to their doctor to determine whether
this lower goal is best for their individual care," said Dr. Lawrence Fine,chief, Clinical Applications and
Prevention Branch at NHLBI.
The primary results of the SPRINT will be published within the next few
months. Other aspects of the study which include kidney disease, cognitive
function and dementia
under analysis and are therefore currently unavailable.