Study Shows Why Sham Controls Are Necessary For Device Trials

— If we can melt the ice-caps then surely we can understand our own fallibility, says one UK cardiologist. The strongest known force in the universe is the ability of the human mind to deceive itself. If we know something to be true then we find the evidence to prove it. There is no better…

Click here to continue reading…

Meta-Analysis Gives More Support To Aggressive Blood Pressure Treatment

A large new meta-analysis offers fresh support to the growing movement in favor of more aggressive treatment to lower high blood pressure. The findings are consistent with and extend the results of the recently reported NIH SPRINT trial, which found substantial clinical benefits for a systolic blood pressure target of 120 mm Hg instead of 140…

Click here to continue reading…

Lancet Sprints To The Front With A Blood Pressure Meta-Analysis

A new meta-analysis published in the Lancet on Friday lends fresh support to calls for more intensive blood pressure treatments. The publication comes only days before the highly anticipated presentation of the NIH’s SPRINT trial at the American Heart Association, which is also expected to offer support for stricter blood pressure control. Blood pressure goals were relaxed after the ACCORD…

Click here to continue reading…

You Don’t Know It But The Debate About SPRINT Is Already Over

On Monday you’re going to hear a lot– an awful lot– about SPRINT. That’s the big NIH blood pressure trial which was stopped early. On September 11 an NIH press release trumpeted the positive results without revealing most of the important details. This Monday, finally, the results are scheduled to be presented at the American Heart…

Click here to continue reading…

Coming Attraction: Looking Forward To SPRINT At The AHA Next Month

Back in September the NIH tantalized the medical community with a preliminary announcement of the results of a major clinical trial, SPRINT (Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial). The NIH said SPRINT was a “landmark trial” that could “save lives,” but their claims were impossible to evaluate since they only gave the slightest hint of the actual results. On November…

Click here to continue reading…

Heart Failure Experts SPRINT To An Early Finish

According to a recent news report a group of prominent heart failure doctors  have eagerly embraced a lower blood pressure target of 120 mm Hg for heart failure patients based on the preliminary results of the SPRINT trial announced last month. But another equally prominent heart failure doctor says that it is far too early to…

Click here to continue reading…

SPRINT Trial To Be Presented At The American Heart Association Meeting In November

Update: I have now received confirmation that SPRINT will be presented on Monday, November 9 at 2 PM. The SPRINT trial, which provoked a storm of excitement and controversy a few weeks ago, will be presented in November at the American Heart Association meeting in Orlando. The trial is not currently on the list of late-breaking clinical trials but…

Click here to continue reading…

A Premature SPRINT To The Finish Line

On Friday the NHLBI declared victory in the SPRINT trial. As was widely reported here and elsewhere, the NHLBI announced that the trial had been stopped early after significant reductions in cardiovascular events and mortality had occurred in the group of hypertensive patients randomized to a  more aggressive blood pressure target than is currently recommended today. But there was a…

Click here to continue reading…

NIH Trial, Stopped Early, Supports More Intensive Blood Pressure Targets

More stringent blood pressure targets could save lives and reduce cardiovascular events, according to preliminary results from a large NIH clinical trial that was stopped early. The SPRINT (Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial) trial randomized 9,361 hypertensive patients 50 years of age or older to the standard systolic blood pressure target (when the trial began) of 140…

Click here to continue reading…

Another Study Raises Questions About Blood Pressure Guidelines

Although the general benefits of lowering high blood pressure are widely accepted, there has been intense debate over specific goals for treatment and the threshold at which therapy should be initiated.  A large new meta-analsysis published in JAMA helps shed lights on this important controversy. UK and Australian researchers analyzed the effect of lowering blood pressure in people…

Click here to continue reading…

FDA Advisory Panel Offers Cautious Support For Polypill

The controversial polypill took one step closer to reaching the US market after receiving a mostly positive reception from the FDA’s Cardiovascular and Renal Drugs Advisory Committee on Wednesday. The idea for the polypill– which in this case would be composed of aspirin, a statin, and one or more blood pressure drugs– has been kicking around for…

Click here to continue reading…

An Old Study Fuels Debate Over Blood Pressure Guidelines

In the last year new guidelines relating to cardiovascular disease have been the subject of intense criticism and debate. The status of the blood pressure guidelines has been particularly contentious, since several different groups have published contradictory guidelines, while several authors of the most prominent group, the Eighth Joint National Committee, published an impassioned dissent…

Click here to continue reading…

New Studies Fuel The Debate Over Sodium

Three papers and an editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine are sure to throw fresh fuel on the ongoing fiery debate over sodium recommendations. Current guidelines recommend that people should limit their intake of sodium to 1.5  to 2.4 grams per day, but these recommendations are based on projections and have never been tested in clinical…

Click here to continue reading…

Probiotics May Help Reduce Blood Pressure

As interest in probiotics has grown in recent years, some evidence has emerged that probiotics may favorably reduce blood pressure, but trials have been small and inconsistent. Now a meta-analysis published in Hypertension suggests that the blood-pressure lowering effects of probiotics may be genuine. … Click here to read the full post on Forbes.  …

Click here to continue reading…

FDA Once Again Reaches Conclusions At Odds With Its Own Staff

Once again the FDA has reached a conclusion that is directly opposed by some of its own scientists.  Last month the FDA affirmed the safety of olmesartan, a popular blood pressure lowering drug (sold as Benicar and other names). But that reassuring view is not shared by the  FDA scientists who performed the study that provided…

Click here to continue reading…

Large Study Uncovers New Details About the Role of Hypertension in CVD

Although high blood pressure has long been recognized and studied as a cardiovascular risk factor, a large new study published in the Lancet provides a more detailed, granular view of the specific role of different forms of hypertension. Eleni Rapsomaniki and colleagues in the U.K. analyzed data from 1.25 million people without existing cardiovascular disease age 30 and older. An…

Click here to continue reading…

The Uncertain Future Of A Once Highly Promising Device For Lowering Blood Pressure

Following the spectacular crash and burn of the Symplicity HTN-3 trial at the American College of Cardiology two weeks ago, the future of renal denervation (RDN)– the once highly promising catheter technology that many thought would cure resistant hypertension– appears in doubt. Although the device has not been approved in the US– and will not be approved without…

Click here to continue reading…

Lower Blood Pressure Found In Vegetarians

A new study provides the strongest evidence yet that a vegetarian diet is strongly associated with lower blood pressure. Although various health benefits of a vegetarian diet have often been proposed, a rigorous examination of the effect on blood pressure has not been previously performed. In a paper published in JAMA Internal Medicine, Japanese researchers analyzed data from…

Click here to continue reading…

Blood Pressure Trajectory Over 25 Years Predicts Atherosclerosis Risk

Everyone knows that blood pressure is one of the most important measurements of cardiovascular risk. Less well known is that most studies of blood pressure have relied on single or isolated measurements of blood pressure. Few studies have even attempted to examine the significance of blood pressure patterns over a long period of time. Now,…

Click here to continue reading…

More Guideline Controversy: Blood Pressure Expert Decries ‘Political Correctness’

Now add “political correctness” to the long list of criticisms directed against the recent publication of new and updated cardiovascular guidelines. One leading hypertension expert writes that the authors of the recent AHA/ACC/CDC Science Advisory on blood pressure control were chosen not for their expertise but for political expediency. … Click here to read the full post on Forbes. Confusion…

Click here to continue reading…

Minority Report: Five Guideline Authors Reject Change In Blood Pressure Goal

It didn’t seem possible but the guideline situation just got even more confusing. Last December, after  years of delay and other twists and turns, the Eighth Joint National Committee (JNC 8) hypertension guideline was published in JAMA. The previous guideline recommended that all adults have a target systolic blood pressure below 140 mm Hg. In the new guideline, the target…

Click here to continue reading…

Pivotal Medtronic Trial For ‘Breakthrough’ Blood Pressure Device Goes Down The Tubes

The hypertension community woke up this morning to a large dose of reality with an announcement by Medtronic that the novel SYMPLICITY HTN-3 trial of its much-anticipated  renal denervation device had failed to meet its primary efficacy endpoint. Renal denervation has been widely touted as a breakthrough product that could dramatically lower blood pressure by as much as 30 mm…

Click here to continue reading…

Missing High Blood Pressure Guideline Turns Up In JAMA

After  years of delay and many twists and turns, the hypertension guideline originally commissioned by the NIH has now finally been published in JAMA. The evidence-based document contains a major revision of hypertension treatment targets and includes new and somewhat simplified recommendations for drug treatment. The previous US hypertension guideline was published more than a decade ago….

Click here to continue reading…

Saying Sorry May Not Be Good Enough For Novartis

Novartis has issued a formal apology over misconduct relating to valsartan (Diovan) research in Japan, but that apology does not appear likely to satisfy the Japanese Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, which plans to fully investigate the company’s role in the scandal. If necessary, ministry officials are prepared to raid the company’s offices in Japan. A Novartis…

Click here to continue reading…

Realistic Expectations For New ‘Breakthrough’ Blood Pressure Technology

Early trials of renal denervation, the innovative new catheter-based blood pressure lowering technology,  have resulted in extremely impressive drops in systolic blood pressure in the range of 30 mm Hg. These results have sparked a great deal of excitement in the hypertension community and stirred the interest of a multitude of medical device companies. Some…

Click here to continue reading…