Blood pressure medication: the solution to reduce cardiac arrests?

Could blood pressure medication be a good solution to reduce cardiovascular diseases? Cardiac arrests and strokes are the major causes of death worldwide. Below, the largest and most detailed study ever conducted to examine this new medication and its efficacy.

Professor Kazem Rahimi from the University of Oxford is the principal investigator on blood pressure medication. During ESC Congress 2020 yesterday, 31 August 2020, he reported that greater drops in blood pressure with drugs lead to greater reductions in the risk of cardiac arrests and strokes.

Initial controversies about blood pressure medication efficacy on cardiac arrest

There has been controversy about whether blood pressure medication lowering is equally beneficial in people with versus without a prior cardiac arrest or stroke, and when blood pressure is below the threshold for hypertension (typically 140/90 mmHg). Evidence from previous studies has been inconclusive, leading to contradictory treatment recommendations around the world.

 

Blood pressure medication against cardiac arrest study: results

The study included 348,854 participants from 48 trials. The researchers examined and combined data on individuals who had participated in a randomized clinical trial and conducted a meta-analysis. Participants were divided into two groups: those with a prior diagnosis of cardiovascular disease and those without. Each group was divided into seven subgroups based on systolic blood pressure at study entry (less than 120, 120-129, 130-139, 140-149, 150-159, 160-169, 170 and above mmHg).

Over an average of four years of follow-up, each 5 mmHg reduction in systolic blood pressure lowered the relative risk of major cardiovascular events by about 10%. The risks for stroke, ischaemic heart disease, heart failure and death from cardiovascular disease were reduced by 13%, 7% and 14% and 5%, respectively.

The study confirmed that neither the presence of cardiovascular disease nor the level of blood pressure at study entry modified the effect of treatment. Professor Rahimi reported that the decision to prescribe blood pressure medication should not be based simply on a prior diagnosis of cardiovascular disease or an individual’s current blood pressure. Rather, blood pressure drugs should be viewed as an effective tool for reducing cardiovascular risk like cardiac arrest probability.

 

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