A new study from the National Institute of Health reports that intensive blood pressure management reduces the risk of death and cardiovascular events when compared to a strategy that only lowers systolic blood pressure to standard targets.
The data comes from the initial results of the Institute’s Sprint systolic blood pressure intervention trial, which sought to evaluate the benefits of maintaining a lower target for systolic blood pressure. The study examined patients 50 years and older at risk of heart disease, or who have kidney disease, according to the Institute.
“This study provides potentially lifesaving information that will be useful to health care providers as they consider the best treatment options for some of their patients, particularly those over the age of 50. 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,” National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute director Dr. Gary Gibbons said in a press release.
The study examined over 9,300 patients recruited from 100 centers across the U.S. and Puerto Rico. It is the largest study of its kind to examine the effect of maintaining systolic blood pressure at lower than currently recommended levels and its effect on cardiovascular and kidney diseases, the NIH said.
Patients in the study were split into 2 groups, differing the the levels of blood pressure control used in each. The 1st group received medications to bring their blood pressure to a target lower than 140 mm Hg, and the other below 120 mm Hg.
Results indicated that maintaining a lower systolic pressure lead to a significant decrease in cardiovascular events and deaths, and the NIH said the results were strong enough to stop the trial in order to quickly disseminate the significant preliminary results.
“Our results provide important evidence that treating blood pressure 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,” NHLBI chief of clinical applications and prevention Dr. Lawrence Fine said in prepared remarks.