Differences in Interarm BP Linked to Increased Mortality

For patients with hypertension, systolic difference of 10 to 15 mm Hg significantly increases death risk

WEDNESDAY, March 21 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with hypertension, an interarm difference in systolic blood pressure of 10 mm Hg or more or 15 mm Hg or more is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events and all-cause mortality over 10 years, according to a study published online March 20 in BMJ.

Christopher E. Clark, Ph.D., of the University of Exeter in Devon, U.K., and colleagues analyzed bilateral blood pressure measurements recorded at three successive surgery attendances in 230 people receiving treatment for hypertension in a rural primary care setting. Cardiovascular events and all-cause mortality were recorded during a median follow-up of 9.8 years.

The researchers found that 24 percent of participants had a mean interarm difference in systolic blood pressure of 10 mm Hg or more and 9 percent had a difference of 15 mm Hg or more, at recruitment. These differences correlated with an elevated risk of all-cause mortality (adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 3.6 and 3.1, respectively). Among 183 participants without pre-existing cardiovascular disease who had an interarm difference in systolic blood pressure of 10 mm Hg or more or 15 mm Hg or more, the risk of mortality was also increased (HR, 2.7 and 2.6, respectively). There was a weaker association between an interarm difference in diastolic blood pressure of 10 mm Hg or more and an increased risk of cardiovascular events or death.

"Differences in systolic blood pressure between arms can predict an increased risk of cardiovascular events and all-cause mortality over 10 years in people with hypertension," the authors write.

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