ASH: Low Blood Pressure Linked to Heart Risks

Heart patients with levels above or below certain range have increased risk of major events
By Rick Ansorge
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, May 7 (HealthDay News) -- Among heart disease patients who receive aggressive cholesterol-lowering treatment, high and low blood pressure levels are associated with an increased risk of major cardiovascular events, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hypertension, held May 6 to 9 in San Francisco.

Sripal Bangalore, M.D., of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and colleagues studied 10,001 patients who received daily doses of either 10 mg or 80 mg of atorvastatin. After a 4.9-year follow-up, they found that 982 (9.82 percent) of patients reached the primary endpoint, defined as a composite of death from coronary disease, nonfatal myocardial infarction, resuscitated cardiac arrest, and fatal or nonfatal stroke.

The researchers found that the risk of major cardiovascular events was elevated among patients with blood pressure levels above and below ranges of 130 to 140 mm Hg for systolic blood pressure and 70 to 80 mm Hg for diastolic blood pressure. For example, the risk was 3.1 times higher in patients with a systolic blood pressure below 110 mm Hg and 3.3 times higher in those with a diastolic blood pressure below 60 mm Hg. The researchers observed a similar J-curved relationship between blood pressure and all-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality, nonfatal myocardial infarction, or nonfatal stroke.

"Our findings negate the dictum that with blood pressure, lower is always better," a co-author said in a statement. "As we learn more about the effect of blood pressure on cardiovascular risk, we continually refine our understanding of the optimal treatment and blood pressure targets for these patients."

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