Blood Pressure Control Beneficial for Seniors, SPRINT Shows

Latest findings from national trial show it lowers chances of heart failure, even in older adults with kidney disease.
Latest findings from national trial show it lowers chances of heart failure, even in older adults with kidney disease.

(HealthDay News) -- Aggressively treating hypertension in older adults can pay off, according to new study results from SPRINT (the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial). The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hypertension, held from May 13 to 17 in New York City.

SPRINT aimed to get patients of all ages down to a systolic blood pressure of 120 or below. The SPRINT trial included over 9,300 patients aged 50 and up, recruited from nearly 100 clinics across the United States. The trial, which began in 2009, was stopped early when it became clear that tighter control was better: Patients who achieved lower numbers were one-quarter to one-third less likely to die or suffer a heart attack, heart failure, or stroke.

Patients on tight blood pressure control were 38% less likely to be hospitalized for worsening heart failure. And even those at increased risk of heart failure benefited. That included patients aged 75 and older, blacks, and patients with kidney disease or a history of cardiovascular issues or stroke. On average, patients on tighter blood pressure control used 3 medications, versus 2 in the group on standard care.

Another study presented at the meeting focused on potential downsides. The researchers, from Wake Forest University and the University of Florida, found that patients on tighter blood pressure control faced a slightly higher risk of dizzy spells and syncope: Just over 3% had problems with dizziness, versus 2% of other patients. The findings were nearly identical when it came to syncope. But among people older than 75, those on tighter blood pressure control were actually 21% less likely to fall and suffer an injury.

Sources

  1. Drawz P and Rahman M. Effect of Intensive Versus Standard Clinic-based Blood Pressure Management on Ambulatory Blood Pressure - Results from the Sprint ABPM Study. JASH. doi:10.1016/j.jash.2016.03.008.
  2. Kitzman DW, Oparil S, Lewis CE, et al. Intensive Blood Pressure Treatment Consistently Reduces Heart Failure Events Across All Key Subgroups in the Sprint Study. JASH. doi:10.1016/j.jash.2016.03.009.
  3. Sink KM, Evans G, Shorr RI, Fine RJ, SPRINT Research Group. Impact of Intensive Blood Pressure Lowering on ER Visits and Serious Adverse Events for Symptomatic Hypotension, Syncope, and Injurious Falls; Results from the SPRINT study. JASH. doi:10.1016/j.jash.2016.03.010.
  4. Cushman WC, Evans GW, Rodriguez CJ, et al. Blood Pressure Intervention and Control in the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT). JASH. doi:10.1016/j.jash.2016.03.011.
  5. Berlowitz D, Foy C, Kazis L, et al. Impact of intensive blood pressure therapy on patient-perceived health status: results from the sprint study. JASH. doi:10.1016/j.jash.2016.03.012.
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