The National Institutes of Health (NIH) abruptly ended their current study of cardiovascular disease and blood pressure in August, 2015, two years earlier than its scheduled finish date, to announce new and significant results about cardiovascular disease and blood pressure.
The SPRINT study, funded by the NIH and conducted by National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, was to run from 2009 to 2017. But on September 11, 2015, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute announced preliminary results: that a “lower blood pressure target greatly reduces cardiovascular complications and deaths in older adults.”
The goal of the Study was to answer the question: “Will lower blood pressure reduce the risk of heart and kidney diseases, stroke, or age-related declines in memory and thinking?”
The SPRINT study is significant because it refutes the previous clinical guidelines of a systolic blood pressure of “less than 140 mm Hg for healthy adults and 130 mm Hg for adults with kidney disease or diabetes.”
Instead, SPRINT found “potential benefits of achieving systolic blood pressure of less than 120 mm Hg” for adults 50 years and older who have hypertension.
This was the reason the Study stopped early; to release results that might favorably impact public health.
As the news begins to be absorbed by the medical community, physicians unconnected with the Study believe that the breadth and scope of SPRINT makes the results potentially important. It may “shake everything up” for acceptable blood pressure going forward and alter treatments.
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