Banksy HeartThe Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT), sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), stopped its study early to announce significant preliminary landmark findings.

The findings state, “More intensive management of high blood pressure, below a commonly recommended blood pressure target, significantly reduces rates of cardiovascular disease, and lowers risk of death in a group of adults 50 years and older with high blood pressure.”

The target systolic pressure of 120 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg), “reduced rates of cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and heart failure, as well as stroke, by almost a third and the risk of death by almost a quarter” versus established clinical guidelines of 140 mm Hg.


“This study provides potentially lifesaving information that will be useful to health care providers as they consider the best treatment options for some of their patients, particularly those over the age of 50,” – Gary H. Gibbons, M.D., director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)

With more than 9,300 participants of the age of 50 or older, recruited from over 100 medical centers and clinical practices across the United States and Puerto Rico, the SPRINT study is the largest of its kind to date. Not only was SPRINT designed to examine the impact of maintaining lower than recommended systolic blood pressure in regards to cardiovascular disease, it will also release findings regarding systolic effects on kidney disease, cognitive function, and dementia.

Lawrence Fine, M.D., chief, Clinical Applications and Prevention Branch at NHLBI, summarized the preliminary results, “Our results provide important evidence that treating blood pressure to a lower goal in older or high-risk patients can be beneficial and yield better health results overall. But patients should talk to their doctor to determine whether this lower goal is best for their individual care.”