Blood pressure to be more tightly controlled after trial results

Study finds if BP kept below 120 mmHg, risk for heart attack, stroke falls 24 per cent

A trial has found that patients whose systolic BP was kept below 120 mmHg had their risk for heart attack, heart failure or stroke reduced by 24 per cent, and their risk of death lowered by 27 per cent.

A trial has found that patients whose systolic BP was kept below 120 mmHg had their risk for heart attack, heart failure or stroke reduced by 24 per cent, and their risk of death lowered by 27 per cent.

 

Unexpected results from a major clinical trial published last night mean thousands of Irish patients with hypertension will benefit from having their blood pressure (BP) more tightly controlled.

The trial found that patients whose systolic BP was kept below 120 mmHg had their risk for heart attack, heart failure or stroke reduced by 24 per cent, and their risk of death lowered by 27 per cent. Systolic BP is the higher of the two figures recorded when blood pressure is measured.

The SPRINT trial was presented at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association in Orlando and published online by the ‘New England Journal of Medicine ’ .

Participants were aged over 50 and either had existing heart disease or were assessed as being at high risk of developing a heart attack or stroke in the future.

The results are expected to result in new treatment guidelines for the treatment of high blood pressure.

For many years a target of 140/90 has been considered the upper limit for normal BP; the latest research will almost certainly result in a new goal of 120/80 for those with a history of heart disease or whose 10 year risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke is greater than 15 per cent.

Commenting on the findings, Dr Annette Neary consultant physician and hypertension specialist at The Galway Clinic said: “This is significant for the majority of hypertensive men and women in showing that we could safely lower their BP more aggressively than previously thought.”