New study from the United States (SPRINT) is set to revolutionise blood pressure treatment

Blood pressure is the single biggest cause of death and disability in the world


Tuesday 10 November 2015 - The SPRINT study presented at the American Heart Association meeting demonstrates that lowering systolic blood pressure to a lower target of 120mm Hg reduces the number of strokes, heart attacks and heart failure, compared to a group controlled to the conventional level of 140mm Hg.  The study also showed that lowering blood pressure to 120mm Hg resulted in a reduction in total mortality of 30%.

The blood pressure intervention portion of the trial was stopped early as a result of the study findings, which showed a 25% reduction in the primary cardiovascular outcome and a 27% reduction of all-cause mortality in patients randomized to the lower 120mm Hg systolic blood pressure target.  In these patients, a 38% reduction in heart failure and 43% reduction in death from heart-related events was seen.

Whilst treating raised blood pressure is known to reduce the risk of stroke, heart attacks and death, there has been controversy about the target blood pressure to aim for in people receiving treatment. In addition there were concerns that reducing blood pressure too low might be harmful. Currently the recommended target is 140/90mm Hg. In the UK approximately only 40% of people being treated for high blood pressure are controlled to this level.

Professor Graham MacGregor, chairman of Blood Pressure UK says:  “The results of this study is tremendous news for patients with high blood pressure as it shows that lowering blood pressure below conventional targets can cause further reductions in cardiovascular events, e.g strokes, heart attacks and heart failure, and also reduce total mortality. The study is clearly going to have a major impact on the way that we manage high blood pressure in the UK.”   

The SPRINT study is a large, very well controlled randomised study and demonstrates unequivocally that the target blood pressure in patients who are on treatment, who have one additional cardiovascular risk factor should be 120mm Hg. These findings will revolutionise the treatment of high blood pressure.  To achieve this target, more than one treatment will be required, in particular drugs in triple generic combinations, most of which are not available in the UK. There are also major implications for GP practices as high blood pressure is one of the commonest reasons to be seen in General Practice.

In the UK more than 16 million people have high blood pressure,[ii] and it is estimated that around eight million are currently on treatment.  The cost of high blood pressure to society and the NHS is high: a recent report by Public Health England estimated that a reduction in the average population blood pressure would result in cost savings of just under £1billion.


For further information, please contact:

Professor Graham MacGregor

Mob: 07946405617


Notes to Editors

About Blood Pressure UK

Blood Pressure UK is the UK’s leading blood pressure charity working to lower the nation’s blood pressure. The charity provides information and support for people with high blood pressure and raises awareness to prevent the condition. For more information visit the charity’s website at If you have a question about your blood pressure, call 020 7882 6255 or visit:  Blood Pressure UK is the operating name of the Blood Pressure Association, charity reg. 1058944.

Facts about blood pressure from Blood Pressure UK:

  • One in three adults in the UK – 16 million – has high blood pressure. It is estimated that nearly a half (8 million) don’t know they have the condition.
  • High blood pressure has no obvious signs or symptoms. The only way to find out if you have the condition is to have a blood pressure check.
  • Untreated high blood pressure is the major risk factor for stroke and heart attack. It is also a risk factor for heart and kidney disease and vascular dementia.
  • A healthy blood pressure is a level of 120/80mmHg or less. If readings are consistently at or above 140/90mmHg, high blood pressure is diagnosed, and action should be taken to lower it. 
  • If your blood pressure is raised, you can lower it by leading a healthier lifestyle, and, if necessary, by taking medication as directed by your doctor.


[i] World Health Organization.  Global Health Risks.  Available at: Last accessed 10 November 2015. 

[ii] Blood Pressure UK.  About Us. Available at: Last accessed 3 November 2015.