Blood pressure and cardiovascular disease

This major observational study affirms the notion that the lower the blood pressure the lower the cardiovascular outcomes. A group of 1.3 million outpatient adults was observed and analyzed over 8 years. The study finds that both systolic and diastolic blood pressure are independent contributors to increased CVD. In addition to guideline-driven blood pressure targets, the BP goal should be individualized based on the patient’s comorbidities, medication burden, and side effects.


Also see:


Cardiovascular Disease



Population Based

July 2019


The relationship between outpatient systolic and diastolic blood pressure and cardiovascular outcomes remains unclear and has been complicated by recently revised guidelines with two different thresholds (≥140/90 mm Hg and ≥130/80 mm Hg) for treating hypertension.


Using data from 1.3 million adults in a general outpatient population, we performed a multivariable Cox survival analysis to determine the effect of the burden of systolic and diastolic hypertension on a composite outcome of myocardial infarction, ischemic stroke, or hemorrhagic stroke over a period of 8 years. The analysis controlled for demographic characteristics and coexisting conditions.


The burdens of systolic and diastolic hypertension each independently predicted adverse outcomes.

In survival models, a continuous burden of the following independently predicted the composite outcome:

  • Systolic hypertension ≥140 mm Hg; HR per unit increase in z-score, 1.18; p<0.05
  • Diastolic hypertension ≥90 mm Hg; HR per unit increase in z-score, 1.06; p<0.05

Similar results were observed with the lower threshold of hypertension (≥130/80 mm Hg) and with systolic and diastolic blood pressures used as predictors without hypertension thresholds.

J-CURVE relation between diastolic blood pressure and outcomes was seen that was explained at least in part by age and other covariates and by a higher effect of systolic hypertension among persons in the lowest quartile of diastolic blood pressure.


Although systolic blood-pressure elevation had a greater effect on outcomes, BOTH systolic and diastolic hypertension independently influenced the risk of adverse cardiovascular events, regardless of the definition of hypertension (≥140/90 mm Hg or ≥130/80 mm Hg).