Alpha blockers and alpha 2 agonist, two types of blood pressure drugs, are linked to increased variability but not cardiovascular events in blood pressure measurements between physician visits, which is associated with an increased risk of death, according to new research.
Prior research has shown that patients with large variances in blood pressure between physician visits are at an increased risk of death. The systolic blood pressure reading (the upper number) indicates how much pressure blood is exerting against the artery walls when the heart beats. According to the American Heart Association, a normal systolic blood pressure is less than 120. Blood pressure above 140 is considered high.
Lead study author Brian Clements, DO, internal medicine physician at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute, and colleagues, wanted to assess the risk of blood pressure variability and its causative effect on cardiovascular events and all-cause mortality. Between January 2007 and December 2011, the researchers studied more than 10,500 patients (with an average age of 71 years) with at least seven recorded blood pressure medications. They tracked the range of variances in blood pressure measurements and the class of blood pressure medication each patient was using.
They found that found that certain classes of blood pressure medications produce more consistent blood pressure and better mortality outcome data such as:
- ACE inhibitors
- angiotensin-receptor blockers
- calcium channel blockers, and
- thiazide diuretics
Results of the study were presented in March at the American College of Cardiology Scientific Sessions in Orlando, FL.
“It is important for healthcare clinics to use evidence-based techniques to accurately measure blood pressure. Blood pressure medication adherence is of upmost importance,” says Clements. “Variation in measured blood pressure in an office setting predicts greater mortality than no variation. Adherence to evidence-based medicines reduce this.”
Based on the study, Clements offers three pieces of advice for healthcare executives:
- It is worth the effort to have clinics take extra time to accurately measure blood pressures according to evidence-based techniques.
- It is important to take evidence-based medications to keep blood pressure controlled.
- Patients with consistent and better controlled blood pressure have less mortality and cardiovascular events and do better.