06/12/2009 - News

Blood pressure reading can predict heart failure outcome

By: Susan Aldridge, medical journalist, PhD


Systolic blood pressure predicts mortality in patients with heart failure.

Systolic blood pressure - the upper figure in a blood pressure reading - is a readily available vital sign taken at hospital admission. Now, according to doctors at the University of California, it would appear that systolic blood pressure is an important prognostic predictor in heart failure.

Over 50 per cent of those admitted with heart failure have systolic hypertension. But those with lower systolic pressure actually have a poorer prognosis, with more advanced disease and higher mortality. The in-hospital mortality rate among those with systolic pressure less than 120 mm Hg was 7.2 per cent but if systolic pressure was between 120 and 139 mm Hg, the mortality rate fell to 3.2 per cent. Those with pressures between 140 and 161 mm Hg had a mortality rate of 2.5 per cent. And for very high systolic pressure of more than 161 mm Hg, the mortality rate was only 1.7 per cent. The researchers think that systolic blood pressure may be indicative of the stage of heart failure - with lower pressure meaning more advanced disease. But more needs to be done to understand the underlying mechanisms for this observation.

Journal of the American Medical Association 8th November 2006

Created on: 11/09/2006
Reviewed on: 06/12/2009

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