SPRINT study: Aim for lower blood pressure target to save lives

November 13, 2015

Early data from a clinical study supported by the National Institutes of Health found that adults with hypertension and at least one other risk factor for heart disease were less likely to have a heart attack, stroke, or heart failure with a reduction of systolic blood pressure to 120 mm Hg.

Early data from a clinical study supported by the National Institutes of Health found that adults with hypertension and at least one other risk factor for heart disease were less likely to have a heart attack, stroke, or heart failure with a reduction of systolic blood pressure to 120 mm Hg.

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The Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT), which enrolled more than 9,300 individuals who were older than 50 and had at least one other risk factor for heart disease, was ended a year early because of its lifesaving information, the American Heart Association (AHA) announced.

“By using medicines to reduce systolic blood pressure to below 120, instead of 140, rates of heart attack, heart failure, and stroke went down by 30%; and rates of death from those conditions dropped nearly 25%,” according to the AHA.

The AHA noted in its blog that the SPRINT data is in line with the association’s position on blood pressure-that the ideal systolic blood pressure is 120 mm Hg.

“The preliminary results from the SPRINT study validate the association’s position on blood pressure that a lower goal is better,” said AHA’s President Mark A. Creager, MD, and director of the Heart and Vascular Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

The AHA/American College of Cardiology Taskforce on Practice Guidelines will review the results of the SPRINT study, along with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

 

Significant findings

The findings are significant, the AHA reported, because a JAMA report last year resulted in a debate about the appropriate goal level for hypertension treatment. The JAMA group recommended higher goal levels than the current AHA guidelines.

The JAMA group’s recommendations were for healthy adults younger than 60 to achieve a blood pressure goal below 140/90 and for healthy adults older than 60 to try to meet a blood pressure goal below 150/90.

The current AHA/ACC recommendations are for healthy adults younger than 80 to try to reach a blood pressure goal below 140/90 and for healthy adults older than 80 to reach a blood pressure goal below 150/90. These recommendations are in line with the SPRINT study results, the AHA noted.

“If the SPRINT findings are consistent with what we believe now, the 140 goal will be challenged too,” said investigator Suzanne Oparil, MD, director of the Vascular Biology and Hypertension Program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine.