To report blood pressure control in the Hypertension in the Very Elderly Trial, a placebo-controlled trial of hypertensive (systolic blood pressure (SBP) 160-199 mm Hg, diastolic blood pressure (DBP) <110 mm Hg) participants over the age of 80 years, given treatment in three steps: indapamide slow release 1.5 mg alone, indapamide plus 2 mg perindopril and indapamide plus 4 mg perindopril. The difference in control between participants with combined systolic and diastolic hypertension (SDH, DBP90 mm Hg) and those with isolated systolic hypertension (ISH, DBP<90 mm Hg) is determined together with the effects of increments in the treatment regimen. At 2 years, the active treatment lowered blood pressure by 16.5/6.9 mm Hg more than that on placebo in participants with SDH and by 19.3/4.8 mm Hg more in those with ISH. The 2-year falls in pressure on placebo alone were 13.2/8.5 mm Hg in SDH and 8.2/1.5 mm Hg in ISH participants. With full titration of active treatment, 62% of SDH participants achieved goal SBP (<150 mm Hg) by 2 years and 71% of those with ISH. The corresponding results for DBP control (<80 mm Hg) were 40 and 78%. The addition of active perindopril 2 mg roughly doubled the percentage controlled, as did increasing to 4 from 2 mg. Blood pressure control was good with ISH and better than with SDH. The fall in SBP accounted for the observed 30% reduction in strokes, but the 21% reduction in total mortality and 64% reduction in heart failure were greater than predicted.