Effect of Intensive Blood Pressure Control on Gait Speed and Mobility Limitation in Adults 75 Years or Older: A Randomized Clinical Trial

JAMA Intern Med. 2017 Apr 1;177(4):500-507. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.9104.


Importance: Intensive blood pressure (BP) control confers a benefit on cardiovascular morbidity and mortality; whether it affects physical function outcomes is unknown.

Objective: To examine the effect of intensive BP control on changes in gait speed and mobility status.

Design, setting, and participants: This randomized, clinical trial included 2636 individuals 75 years or older with hypertension and no history of type 2 diabetes or stroke who participated in the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT). Data were collected from November 8, 2010, to December 1, 2015. Analysis was based on intention to treat.

Interventions: Participants were randomized to intensive treatment with a systolic BP target of less than 120 mm Hg (n = 1317) vs standard treatment with a BP target of less than 140 mm Hg (n = 1319).

Main outcomes and measures: Gait speed was measured using a 4-m walk test. Self-reported information concerning mobility was obtained from items on the Veterans RAND 12-Item Health Survey and the EQ-5D. Mobility limitation was defined as a gait speed less than 0.6 meters per second (m/s) or self-reported limitations in walking and climbing stairs.

Results: Among the 2629 participants in whom mobility status could be defined (996 women [37.9%]; 1633 men [62.1%]; mean [SD] age, 79.9 [4.0] years), median (interquartile range) follow-up was 3 (2-3) years. No difference in mean gait speed decline was noted between the intensive- and standard-treatment groups (mean difference, 0.0004 m/s per year; 95% CI, -0.005 to 0.005; P = .88). No evidence of any treatment group differences in subgroups defined by age, sex, race or ethnicity, baseline systolic BP, chronic kidney disease, or a history of cardiovascular disease were found. A modest interaction was found for the Veterans RAND 12-Item Health Survey Physical Component Summary score, although the effect did not reach statistical significance in either subgroup, with mean differences of 0.004 (95% CI, -0.002 to 0.010) m/s per year among those with scores of at least 40 and -0.008 (95% CI, -0.016 to 0.001) m/s per year among those with scores less than 40 (P = .03 for interaction). Multistate models allowing for the competing risk of death demonstrated no effect of intensive treatment on transitions to mobility limitation (hazard ratio, 1.06; 95% CI, 0.92-1.22).

Conclusions and relevance: Among adults 75 years or older in SPRINT, treating to a systolic BP target of less than 120 mm Hg compared with a target of less than 140 mm Hg had no effect on changes in gait speed and was not associated with changes in mobility limitation.

Trial registration: clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT01206062.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antihypertensive Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Blood Pressure Determination / methods
  • Exercise Test / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension* / diagnosis
  • Hypertension* / drug therapy
  • Hypertension* / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Mobility Limitation*
  • Self Report
  • Self-Assessment
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Walking Speed / drug effects*


  • Antihypertensive Agents

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01206062