Pulse pressure and risk of cardiovascular events in the systolic hypertension in the elderly program

Am J Cardiol. 2001 Nov 1;88(9):980-6. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9149(01)01974-9.


Pulse pressure has been related to higher risk of cardiovascular events in older persons. Isolated systolic hypertension is common among the elderly and is accompanied by elevated pulse pressure. Treatment of isolated systolic hypertension may further increase pulse pressure if diastolic pressure is lowered to a greater extent than systolic pressure. Little is known regarding pulse pressure as a predictor of cardiovascular outcomes in elderly persons with isolated systolic hypertension, and the influence of treatment on the pulse pressure effect. We assessed the relation between pulse pressure, measured throughout the follow-up period, and the incidence of coronary heart disease (CHD), heart failure (HF), and stroke in 4,632 participants in the Systolic Hypertension in the Elderly Program, a 5-year randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial of treatment of isolated systolic hypertension in older adults. In the treatment group, a 10-mm Hg increase in pulse pressure was associated with a statistically significant 32% increase in risk of HF and a 24% increase in risk of stroke after controlling for systolic blood pressure and other known risk factors, as well as with a 23% increase in risk of HF and a 19% increase in risk of stroke after controlling for diastolic blood pressure and other risk factors. Pulse pressure was not significantly associated with HF or stroke in the placebo group, nor with incidence of CHD in either the placebo or treatment group. These results suggest that pulse pressure is a useful marker of risk for HF and stroke among older adults being treated for isolated systolic hypertension.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Coronary Disease / etiology
  • Coronary Disease / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / etiology
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / complications
  • Hypertension / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Pulse*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Risk Assessment
  • Stroke / etiology
  • Stroke / physiopathology*