Dropping blood pressure to 120 lowers heart woes, data confirm | Science News

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Dropping blood pressure to 120 lowers heart woes, data confirm

SPRINT study results support new, lower target, but also reveal risks of aggressive treatment

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2:16pm, November 9, 2015
blood pressure graph

UNDER PRESSURE  Hitting a systolic blood pressure target of 120 millimeters of mercury took, on average, three drugs for a group of participants undergoing intensive treatment (orange line) in an NIH-sponsored clinical trial. To meet a target of 140, another group of participants (blue line) required, on average, two drugs. 

Aggressive treatment for high blood pressure saves lives, newly released data from a recently halted clinical trial suggests.

Using drugs to lower systolic blood pressure to less than 120 millimeters of mercury cut people’s risk of heart attacks and other cardiovascular woes by 25 percent, researchers report November 9 in the New England Journal of Medicine. That’s compared with treatments that aim to drop blood pressure to below 140.

Earlier this year, preliminary results from the trial, named the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial, or SPRINT, convinced the National Institutes of Health to end the study a year ahead of schedule (SN Online: 9/11/15). At the time, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

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