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ACC: Treatment of Hypertension Is Beneficial in Elderly

Reduces risk of stroke, heart failure and death

MONDAY, March 31 (HealthDay News) -- Treatment of hypertension in individuals aged 80 and older appears to be beneficial, significantly reducing the risk of stroke and death from any cause, according to an article published online March 31 in the New England Journal of Medicine and presented at the American College of Cardiology's 57th Scientific Session held this week in Chicago.

As part of the Hypertension in the Very Elderly Trial (HYVET), Nigel S. Beckett, of Imperial College London in the United Kingdom, and colleagues randomized 3,845 multi-national patients who were 80 years of age and older with a systolic blood pressure of at least 160 mm Hg to receive either the diuretic indapamide or placebo. If the target blood pressure of 150/80 mm Hg was not reached, then the angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitor perindopril or matching placebo was added. The primary end point measured was fatal or non-fatal stroke.

After two years of treatment, mean blood pressure in the treatment group was 15/6.1 mm Hg lower than in the placebo group, the researchers report. Antihypertensive therapy was associated with a 64 percent reduction in heart failure, a 39 percent reduction in death due to stroke, a 30 percent reduction in stroke, a 23 percent reduction in death due to cardiovascular causes and a 21 percent reduction in death from any cause.

"The results of HYVET prove that it is not too late to start antihypertensive therapy in older people and expands the upper limit of the age spectrum for which there is evidence from clinical trials of a treatment benefit," comments the author of an accompanying editorial.

Several of the study co-authors report receiving consulting and speaking fees from various pharmaceutical companies.

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