Background: Higher systolic blood pressure variability has been shown to be a better predictor of all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality, stroke, and cardiac disease compared with average systolic blood pressure.
Methods: We evaluated the impact of a digital hypertension program on systolic blood pressure variability in 803 consecutive patients with long-standing hypertension who had been under the care of a primary care physician for a minimum of 12 months prior to enrollment (mean 4.7 years). Blood pressure readings were transmitted directly from home using a digitally connected blood pressure unit. Medication adjustments and lifestyle coaching was performed virtually via a dedicated team of pharmacists and health coaches. Systolic blood pressure variability was grouped by quartile and measured using the standard deviation (SD) of all systolic blood pressure values per individual.
Results: The mean age was 67 ± 12 years, 41% were male, submitting 3.3 ± 3.7 blood pressures per week. Under usual care, only 30% of patients were in the lowest-risk quartile, and 21% of patients were in the highest risk. After 24 months, the mean systolic blood pressure variability progressively fell from 12.8 ± 4.3 mm Hg to 9.9 ± 5.1 mm Hg (P <0.0001) with 57% of patients achieving the lowest-risk quartile.
Conclusions: The majority of patients with hypertension under usual care have elevated systolic blood pressure variability exposing them to higher risk of cardiovascular disease events. Digital management of hypertension that includes weekly submission of home readings leads to improvement in average systolic blood pressure as well as systolic blood pressure variability over time, which should improve cardiovascular prognosis.
Keywords: Blood pressure variability; Digital medicine; Hypertension.
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