Initial results from the landmark NIH SPRINT study published in September of this year reveal that lowering systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure reading) could reduce cardiovascular complications and save the lives of high-risk, older adults. Beginning in 2009, the trial tracked a diverse group of more than 9,300 hypertensive adults, age 50 and up, with increased risk for heart disease or with kidney disease. Participants in the standard group received an average of two medications to reach a target systolic pressure of less than 140 mm Hg. Those in the intensive group received an average of three medications to achieve a target below 120 mm Hg. The lower blood pressure target showed dramatic benefits. “…A target systolic pressure of 120 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) reduced rates of cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and heart failure, as well as stroke, by almost a third and the risk of death by almost a quarter, as compared to the target systolic pressure of 140 mm Hg.”
The SPRINT study is expected to have a huge impact on future treatment for at-risk patients, including those with kidney disease. Researchers are still collecting data for another component of the study, which analyzes the effects of blood pressure readings on kidney disease, cognitive function, and dementia. We look forward to learning those preliminary results when they become available in the upcoming year.
Landmark NIH Study Shows Intensive Blood Pressure Management May Save Lives, NIH, September 11, 2015