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Intensive blood pressure lowering in different age categories: insights from the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial

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AIMS: The 2018 ESC/ESH guidelines for hypertension recommend differential management of patients who are <65, 65-79, and ≥80 years of age. However, it is unclear whether intensive blood pressure lowering is well-tolerated and modifies risk uniformly across the age spectrum.

METHODS AND RESULTS: SPRINT randomized 9361 high-risk adults without diabetes and age ≥50 years with systolic blood pressure 130-180 mmHg to either intensive or standard antihypertensive treatment. The primary efficacy endpoint was the composite of acute coronary syndromes, stroke, heart failure, or death from cardiovascular causes. The primary safety endpoint was composite serious adverse events. We assessed whether age modified the efficacy and safety of intensive vs. standard blood pressure lowering using Cox proportional-hazards regression and restricted cubic splines. In all, 3805 (41%), 4390 (47%), and 1166 (12%) were <65, 65-79, and ≥80 years. Mean age was similar between the two study groups (intensive group 67.9 ± 9.4 years vs. standard group 67.9 ± 9.5 years; P = 0.94). Median follow-up was 3.3 years. In multivariable models, age was linearly associated with the risk of stroke (P < 0.001) and non-linearly associated with the risk of primary efficacy events, death from cardiovascular causes, death from any cause, heart failure, and serious adverse events (P < 0.001). The safety and efficacy of intensive blood pressure lowering were not modified by age, whether tested continuously or categorically (P > 0.05).

CONCLUSION: In SPRINT, the benefits and risks of intensive blood pressure lowering did not differ according to the age categories proposed by the ESC/ESH guidelines for hypertension.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: SPRINT (Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial); Identifier: NCT01206062,

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean heart journal. Cardiovascular pharmacotherapy
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)356-363
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

Published on behalf of the European Society of Cardiology. All rights reserved. © The Author(s) 2019. For permissions, please email:

ID: 57982595