Blood pressure increases during acute exposure to high altitude in healthy humans. However, little is known on altitude effects in hypertensive subjects or on the treatment efficacy in this condition. Objectives of High Altitude Cardiovascular Research (HIGHCARE)-Andes Lowlanders Study were to investigate the effects of acute high-altitude exposure on 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure in hypertensive subjects and to assess antihypertensive treatment efficacy in this setting. One hundred untreated subjects with mild hypertension (screening blood pressure, 144.1±9.8 mm Hg systolic, 92.0±7.5 mm Hg diastolic) were randomized to double-blind placebo or to telmisartan 80 mg+modified release nifedipine 30 mg combination. Twenty-four-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring was performed off-treatment, after 6 weeks of treatment at sea level, on treatment during acute exposure to high altitude (3260 m) and immediately after return to sea level. Eighty-nine patients completed the study (age, 56.4±17.6 years; 52 men/37 women; body mass index, 28.2±3.5 kg/m(2)). Twenty-four-hour systolic blood pressure increased at high altitude in both groups (placebo, 11.0±9 mm Hg; P<0.001 and active treatment, 8.1±10.4 mm Hg; P<0.001). Active treatment reduced 24-hour systolic blood pressure both at sea level and at high altitude (147.9±11.1 versus 132.6±12.4 mm Hg for placebo versus treated; P<0.001; 95% confidence interval of the difference 10.9-19.9 mm Hg) and was well tolerated. Similar results were obtained for diastolic, for daytime blood pressure, and for nighttime blood pressure. Treatment was well tolerated in all conditions. Our study demonstrates that (1) 24-hour blood pressure increases significantly during acute high-altitude exposure in hypertensive subjects and (2) treatment with angiotensin receptor blocker-calcium channel blocker combination is effective and safe in this condition.
Clinical trial registration: URL: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov. Unique identifier: NCT01830530.
Keywords: altitude; anoxia; antihypertensive agents; blood pressure; blood pressure monitoring, ambulatory.
© 2015 American Heart Association, Inc.