Hypertension in older patients can cause cardiovascular complications, such as heart attack, stroke and heart failure, potentially leading to death or disability. But the optimal treatment target for systolic blood pressure (SBP) is unclear.
Researchers analysed 2,510 hypertensive patients aged over 75 years who participated in the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT). Patients were randomly assigned an intensive or standard SBP target of less than 120mmHg or 140mmHg, respectively.
After three years, there were fewer deaths and fatal or non-fatal cardiovascular events in patients with intensive blood pressure targets compared with the standard group (101 and 148 events, respectively). Falls and serious adverse events were similar.
The researchers conclude in JAMA (online, 28 June 2016)
that hypertension is common in older patients and the benefits of lowering blood pressure may be underestimated.