New research from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, has shown that the aggressive lowering of blood pressure in people with hypertension can reduce their chances of developing left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH).
"We know that high blood pressure could lead to LVH and we know that lowering this pressure to the recommended levels improves it, but we didn't know if intensive lowering of blood pressure beyond recommended would lead to more improvement in heart muscle," said Elsayed Z. Soliman, MD, the lead author on the study and the director of the epidemiological cardiology research center at Wake Forest School of Medicine, in a statement.
The results were published in the early online edition of Circulation.
The study included more than 8,000 patients from the National Institute of Health’s Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT). Patients in the study, all of whom had hypertension, were randomized to the intensive blood pressure lowering group or a standard treatment group.
Results showed that lowering systolic blood pressure to less than 120 mmHg compared to the standard recommendation of 140 mmHg prevented the development of new LVH in patients who didn’t already have the condition, and the lower recommendation also regressed LVH in patients who already had it. The findings help reinforce prior research that suggests there are benefits in intensive blood pressure lowering.
"We thought that reducing heart muscle thickening would correlate with fewer heart incidents associated with intensive lowering of high blood pressure, but surprisingly that was not the case," Soliman said. "However, this favorable impact on heart muscle did not explain most of the reduction in cardiovascular events associated with intensive blood pressure lowering. More research is needed to understand what factors determine which patients get the most benefits and less of the harm."