Findings from a landmark study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) support a key component of the new 2017 Hypertension Clinical Practice Guidelines announced by the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology (ACC) at the annual AHA meeting in Anaheim, California.
In 2013, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the NIH, adapted to changing times and refined its focus to generating high quality scientific evidence in support of the development of clinical practice guidelines worthy of the public trust. The new high blood pressure guidelines illustrate the utility and impact of NHLBI scientific studies.
Today the AHA and the ACC issued the first comprehensive new high blood pressure guidelines in more than a decade that indicate high blood pressure should be treated earlier with lifestyle changes and in some patients with medication – at 130/80 mm Hg rather than 140/90. An important component of these guidelines was informed by the results of the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT), a clinical study sponsored in part by the NHLBI and designed to determine the best way to treat blood pressure in adults with hypertension, 50 years or older, who are at high risk for heart disease.
SPRINT, which began in the fall of 2009, included more than 9,300 participants, recruited from about 100 medical centers and clinical practices throughout the United States. It remains the largest study of its kind to date to examine how maintaining systolic blood pressure at a lower than previously recommended level would impact cardiovascular and kidney diseases.
The pace of scientific advances today requires systematic synthesis for developing guidelines that will assist busy practitioners. The successful implementation of these guidelines will lead to improvements in the health of the nation and reduce the risks posed by heart disease and stroke. Heart disease is the United States’ leading cause of death.
In addition to primary sponsorship by the NHLBI, SPRINT is also co-sponsored by the NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and The National Institute on Aging.