Isolated systolic hypertension (ISH) and elevated pulse pressure (PP) are common blood pressure (BP) abnormalities in older adults, reflect poor vascular compliance, and can signify risk for cardiovascular outcomes. We sought to characterize the associations of ISH and widened PP with high-sensitivity Troponin-T (hs-cTnT; a marker of myocardial damage) and N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP; a marker of hemodynamic stress) levels in older adults. We performed a cross-sectional analysis of 5,251 Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study participants without heart failure who attended visit 5 (2011 to 2013). We used logistic regression to evaluate the association of ISH (systolic BP ≥140 mm Hg and diastolic BP < 90 mm Hg) and quartiles of PP with detectable (≥5 ng/L) and elevated hs-cTnT (≥14 ng/L); as well as elevated NT-proBNP (≥100 pg/mL). The mean age was 75 years, 58% were women, and 78% were white. ISH was present in 24.7% and PP ≥ 70 mm Hg in 30.3% of this cohort. Compared to participants with nonhypertensive BP (<140/90 mm Hg), ISH was independently associated with hs-cTnT and NT-proBNP; adjusted odds ratio of 1.5 (95% confidence interval: 1.1 to 1.9) for detectable hs-cTnT; 1.3 (1.1 to 1.5) for elevated hs-cTnT; and 1.8 (1.6 to 2.1) for elevated NT-proBNP. Increasing quartiles of PP were also significantly associated with both elevated hs-cTnT (p-for-trend <0.0001) and NT-proBNP (p-for-trend <0.0001). These associations were not modified by BP treatment status. In conclusion, ISH and wide PP are relatively common in older adults despite contemporary BP treatment and are associated with abnormalities in hs-cTnT and NT-pro BNP, findings that could guide personalized treatment of older patients with these BP aberrations.
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