Background: To test the prognostic value of plasma renin activity prospectively, we determined the pretreatment renin-sodium profile of 1717 subjects with mild-to-moderate hypertension (mean age, 53 years; 36 percent white; 67 percent men) in a systematic work-site treatment program.
Methods: Renin profiles, obtained by plotting plasma renin activity against the urinary excretion of sodium, were classified as high (12 percent of the subjects), normal (56 percent), and low (32 percent), and there were expected variations according to age, sex, and race. Modified stepped-care treatment for hypertension, prescribed without reference to the renin profile, was similar in the three renin groups.
Results: Mean (+/- SD) blood pressure at entry was 151 +/- 19/100 +/- 10 mm Hg in the subjects with a high renin profile, 151 +/- 19/97 +/- 10 mm Hg in those with a normal profile, and 151 +/- 20/96 +/- 11 mm Hg in those with a low profile. During 8.3 years of follow-up, there were 27 myocardial infarctions. As adjusted for age, sex, and race, the incidence of myocardial infarction per 1000 person-years was 14.7 among the subjects with a high renin profile, 5.6 among those with a normal profile, and 2.8 among those with a low profile (rate ratio for high vs. low, 5.3; 95 percent confidence interval, 3.4 to 8.3). The rate of mortality from all causes was 9.3 in the high-profile group, 5.3 in the normal-profile group, and 3.9 in the low-profile group. The independent association of a high renin profile with myocardial infarction (but not with stroke or noncardiovascular events) was affirmed by Cox analyses (rate ratio for high vs. normal plus low, 3.2; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.2 to 8.4) after adjustment for race, sex, age at entry, serum cholesterol level, smoking status, electrocardiographic evidence of left ventricular hypertrophy, blood glucose level, body-mass index, history of cardiovascular disease or treatment, blood pressure, and use of beta-blockers.
Conclusions: In the study population, whose blood pressure before and during treatment was in a narrow range, and after other cardiovascular risk factors had been considered, the renin profile before treatment remained independently associated with the subsequent risk of myocardial infarction.