A recent study performed by scientists from Landmark Clinical Trial and funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH), discovered that adjusting blood pressure to a lower target, helps to significantly reduce cardiovascular complications and can even decrease the risk of death in aged adults. The study was named “Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT).”

Scientists focused on determining the benefits of holding a new benchmark for systolic blood pressure. Landmark investigators suggest that a blood pressure of 120 mm Hg, could definitely help save lives among adults of 50 years and older, who have a difficult combination of high blood pressure and at least one added risk factor for heart disease.

Credit: Fit8
Credit: Fit8

“This study provides potentially lifesaving information that will be useful to health care providers as they consider the best treatment options for some of their patients, particularly those over the age of 50,” said Gary H. Gibbons, M.D., director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the primary sponsor of SPRINT.

SPRINT Research

Researchers based their conclusions in more than 9,300 individuals around 50 years and older who were at risk for developing heart disease or kidney disease. Each one of them were enlisted from around 100 differents medical centers and clinical practices around the U.S and Puerto Rico. It was a mixed population, the study included women, racial and ethnic minorities  as well as the elderly.

For the results, investigators splitted the study population into two groups that diverged regarding to targeted levels of blood pressure control: One group received blood pressure medications so they can reach a target of less than 140 mm Hg, receiving an average of two different systolic pressure medications – this was the standard group. The other one received medications to achieve a target of less than 120 mm Hg and received an average of three medications – this was called “the intensive treatment group”.

Regarding to this data, researchers concluded that lower blood pressure undoubtedly reduced rates of cardiovascular episodes, like having a heart attack or heart failures. Among the most common ones: a stroke, which is the risk of death by almost a 25 percent, comparing it to the target systolic pressure of 140 mm Hg, which is higher than what they suggested.  

What’s next?

Scientist recognized that their research can be beneficial and improve health results, but they also pointed out that patients with high blood pressure issues should talk to their doctors first, in order to determinate whether this lower target is worth for their individual care.

Moreover, The SPRINT study is currently examining kidney disease, cognitive function and dementia among the study population. These results are going to be analyse throughout next year. However, the primary results from this test will be announced in the next few months.


Researchers said that they are delighted to have achieved this “important milestone in the study in advance of the expected closure date for the SPRINT trial and look forward to quickly communicating the results to help inform patient care and the future development of evidence-based clinical guidelines.”

High blood pressure issues are one of the main risk factors for heart disease, strokes and kidney disease in the United States. According to NIH, it is estimated that one in three people in the country has high blood pressure.

In addition, the SPRINT study is the largest of its kind and it started back in 2009.

Source:  NIH