Systolic blood pressure in heart failure

The study finds that low systolic blood pressure in the hospital is associated with increased re-hospitalization and mortality rates among patients with heart failure but preserved ejection fraction (EF>50%). Mortality disadvantage was seen as far out as in 1 month, 1 year and 2.6 years after discharge in those with hospital systolic BP < 120 mmHg. These results could change hospitalists’ approach to blood pressure management in heart failure.


Also see:

Other related heart failure posts.

Related blood pressure posts.


Jama Cardiology


February 2018


Lower systolic blood pressure (SBP) levels are associated with poor outcomes in patients with heart failure. Less is known about this association in heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF).


To determine the associations of SBP levels with mortality and other outcomes in HFpEF.


A propensity score–matched observational study of the Medicare-linked Organized Program to Initiate Lifesaving Treatment in Hospitalized Patients with Heart Failure (OPTIMIZE-HF) registry included 25,354 patients who were discharged alive; 8873 (35.0%) had an ejection fraction of at least 50%, and of these, 3915 (44.1%) had stable SBP levels (≤20 mm Hg admission to discharge variation). Data were collected from 259 hospitals in 48 states between March 1, 2003, and December 31, 2004. Data were analyzed from March 1, 2003, to December 31, 2008.


Discharge SBP levels less than 120 mm Hg. A total of 1076 of 3915 (27.5%) had SBP levels less than 120 mm Hg, of whom 901 (83.7%) were matched by propensity scores with 901 patients with SBP levels of 120 mm Hg or greater who were balanced on 58 baseline characteristics.

Main Outcomes and Measures  

Thirty-day, 1-year, and overall all-cause mortality and heart failure readmission through December 31, 2008.


The 1802 matched patients had a mean age of 79 years; 1147 (63.7%) were women, and 134 (7.4%) were African American. Thirty-day all-cause mortality occurred in 91 (10%) and 45 (5%) of matched patients with discharge SBP of less than 120 mm Hg vs 120 mm Hg or greater, respectively (HR 2.07,P < .001).

Systolic blood pressure level less than 120 mm Hg was also associated with a higher risk of mortality at 1 year (HR, 1.36, P < .001) and during a median follow-up of 2.1 (overall 6) years (HR, 1.17, P = .005).

Systolic blood pressure level less than 120 mm Hg was associated with a higher risk of heart failure readmission at 30 days (HR, 1.47, P = .02) but not at 1 or 6 years.

Hazard ratios for the combined end point of heart failure readmission or all-cause mortality associated with SBP level less than 120 mm at 30 days, 1 year, and overall were 1.71, 1.21, and 1.12 (all P < 0.05), respectively.


Among hospitalized patients with HFpEF, an SBP level less than 120 mm Hg is significantly associated with poor outcomes. Future studies need to prospectively evaluate optimal SBP treatment goals in patients with HFpEF.