The aim of the present study was to monitor the efficacy of treatment, morbidity and mortality over a 10-year period in 939 moderate to severe hypertensive patients. All patients were treated in the same hypertension clinic with the [beta]1-selective agent atenolol, administered either alone or more usually with a diuretic with or without a vasodilator or other agents. Survival rates were compared with predicted survival rates, had the hypertension not been treated, and also with those of a local reference population matched for age and sex.
After a mean follow-up time of 6.1 years, mean blood pressure (BP) was significantly lowered from 183/109 to 145/87 mmHg. Biochemical disturbance was minimal. There were 79 withdrawals from treatment, of whom 37 were lost to follow-up. There were 91 deaths on intention to treat. Systolic blood pressure (SBP) on treatment, and not initial BP, was a powerful predictor of mortality. Patients of all age groups with well-controlled SBP were less likely to die, particularly from myocardial infarction, than those with less well controlled SBP (P < 0.001). However, due to possible J-curve relationships between treated BP and outcome, lowering SBP below 140-150 mmHg in the elderly, and the diastolic blood pressure (DBP) below about 85 mmHg, may not be beneficial. Total mortality and mortality due to myocardial infarction was about 40%, of predicted level, had a high BP not been treated, being similar to that in a local reference control population (age- and sex-matched). The death rate from stroke was reduced to about 50% of that predicted. Patients who died showed a mean fall in mean serum triglyceride concentration in contrast to the mean increase that occurred in survivors.
It is concluded that patients with moderate to severe hypertension who obtain a high level of general health care and optimal control of BP for up to 10 years, experience a significant decrease in total mortality rate and death from myocardial infarction and stroke.
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