The findings of a landmark multicenter study on blood pressure management, in which the George Washington University (GW) participated, led to the development of new blood pressure guidelines released by the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology (ACC).
The Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT) study, which looked at more than 9,200 patients with high blood pressure (BP) across 100 medical centers, found that intensive control of BP was associated with better outcomes, said the principal investigator for the GW site, Dominic Raj, MD, professor of medicine at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences.
Researchers found that patients randomized to a blood pressure target of 120 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg), which is lower than current guidelines, for older adults reduced their rates of cardiovascular events especially heart failure and death.
The revisions from the AHA and ACC are the first comprehensive new BP guidelines in about a decade and are based on the results from the SPRINT study. Before the SPRINT study, guidelines recommended a BP of 140/90 in adults older than 60 years of age with hypertension. Now, those numbers have been revised down to less than 130/80.
Raj said this was a remarkable study to participate in because of its significant effect on patient care. “I’m very glad we participated,” said Raj. “This is the first study of its kind where major institutes had input in the design, and it delivered a very important message.”
The study, which ran from 2009-15, was sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and co-sponsored by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and the National Institute on Aging.
In addition, GW is continuing to examine the beneficial effects of lower blood pressure targets though the SPRINT Alzheimer’s, Seniors, and Kidney Study and the SPRINT Electronic Health Record Study, Raj said. Findings from the former study will inform medical professionals about the effects of intensive blood pressure control on kidney and neurocognitive function. The latter study will leverage the electronic medical record to examine long-term outcomes in SPRINT study participants.
GW contributed more than 120 patients to the study, recruited not only from GW, but also from other medical centers in Washington, D.C., Raj added.