HOUSTON, March 7, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- One
of the nation's leading cardiologists is challenging the new
hypertension guidelines, perhaps sparing up to 10 million people
from unnecessarily aggressive blood pressure treatments.
Robert A Phillips, M.D., Ph.D., Houston Methodist's chief
medical officer, and his colleagues investigated the impact of new
guidelines issued in November that redefine high blood pressure.
Phillips, who is an expert in hypertension and cardiovascular
disease, says while patients at higher risk for cardiovascular
disease benefited from the stricter guidelines, those with lower
risk had more harm than benefit from the intensive treatment
The findings are described in a paper titled "Impact of
cardiovascular risk on the relative benefit and harm of intensive
treatment of hypertension," appearing online March 7 and in print April
17 in the Journal of the American College of
Cardiology, a leading medical journal in the field of
"While it's estimated that 107,500 deaths could be averted
annually in the U.S. by implementing more aggressive treatments, it
may be accompanied by other serious, adverse events," Phillips
said. "This presents clinicians and patients with a dilemma,
potentially trading one clinically significant condition for
The new rules were written by a panel of 21 scientists and
health experts who reviewed more than 900 published studies. Issued
by the American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology
and nine other professional health organizations, the new
guidelines classify hypertension as a reading of 130 over 80,
rather than 140 over 90. Under these new tightened rules, 46
percent of U.S. adults are now considered hypertensive, up from 32
This call for more aggressive treatment is based largely on data
from the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial, or SPRINT,
which was a large-scale study of more than 9,000 people, sponsored
by the NIH's National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
"Classifying patients by degree of future risk might be the best
way to identify who could benefit most from intensive treatment,"
Phillips said. "We developed a model using the 10-year
cardiovascular disease risk and found that aggressive treatment of
patients with a risk greater than or equal to 18.2 percent would
result in more benefit than harm, while those with a risk of less
than that would fare better under a standard blood pressure
These numbers are at odds with the new guidelines, which suggest
treating patients with a greater than 10 percent risk.
Other researchers collaborating with Phillips on this paper
include Jiaqiong Xu, Ph.D., Leif E.
Peterson, Ph.D., M.P.H., and Ryan M.
Arnold, M.P.H., from Houston Methodist; Joseph A. Diamond, M.D., from the cardiology
department of Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine in Hempstead, New York; and Adam E. Schussheim, M.D., with the cardiac
specialists of Northeast Medical Group at Bridgeport Hospital with
Yale New Haven Health in New Haven,
To speak with Robert Phillips,
M.D., Ph.D., contact Lisa Merkl,
Houston Methodist, at 281-620-2502 or
firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information
about Houston Methodist, visit the
newsroom or follow us on Twitter
For more information: Impact of cardiovascular risk on
the relative benefit and harm of intensive treatment of
hypertension. Journal of the American College of Cardiology
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2018.01.074 (March 7, 2018) R.A. Phillips, J. Xu, L.E.
Peterson, R.M. Arnold, J.A. Diamond, A.E. Schussheim.
Media Contacts: Lisa Merkl
Medical Research Editor for PR
This news release was issued on behalf of Newswise(TM). For more
information, visit http://www.newswise.com.
SOURCE Houston Methodist