Treating hypertension lowers mortality by 20 per cent in very elderly

Treating hypertension in very elderly patients can lower mortality rates by up to 20 per cent, a major UK study has shown.

The findings back NICE hypertension guidance to treat high BP in the over-80s with calcium channel blockers or diuretics.

Research presented at the American Cardiology Conference (ACC) in Chicago last week showed that treatment with the diuretic indapamide (1.5g daily) could cut total mortality by 21 per cent and stroke risk by 30 per cent. 

The randomised controlled study, called HYVET, included 3,845 patients aged an average of 84 years.

Patients had a systolic BP of 160-99mmHg and a diastolic BP below 110mmHg.

The patients were followed for up for an average of 1.8 years. During which time, 48 per cent of those in the treatment arm reached the target BP of 150/80mmHg, compared with 20 per cent given placebo.

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