Researchers assist in landmark NIH study showing intensive blood pressure management may save lives

More intensive management of high blood pressure, below a commonly recommended blood pressure target, significantly reduces rates of cardiovascular disease, and lowers risk of death in a group of adults 50 years and older with high blood pressure, a National Institutes of Health study involving UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers shows.

Dr. Robert Toto photo
Dr. Robert Toto

These initial results were reported as part of a landmark clinical trial sponsored by the National Institutes of Health called the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT). The intervention in this trial, which carefully adjusts the amount or type of blood pressure medication to achieve 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, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI).

“The systolic blood pressure intervention trial is the first ever to demonstrate that lowering systolic blood pressure to 120 as compared to 140 in people with hypertension over the age of 50 was associated with a 30 percent lower event rate, potentially saving lives and reducing cardiovascular events,” said Dr. Robert Toto, Associate Dean for Clinical and Translational Research, Professor of Internal Medicine and Clinical Sciences, and principal investigator for the trial at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

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