Westport cardiologist says new blood pressure guidelines aren’t good for all

Friday, March 9, 2018
BRIDGEPORT, CT (March 8, 2018) – Adam E. Schussheim, MD, MSc, of Westport, a member of Northeast Medical Group’s Cardiac Specialists and attending physician at Bridgeport Hospital, was the senior author of the article, “Impact of cardiovascular risk on the relative benefit and harm of intensive treatment of hypertension,” published by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, a leading medical journal in the field of cardiovascular disease. (The online version of the article was posted March 7 and the print version will appear in the April 17 issue of the journal.)

Dr. Schussheim and his colleagues investigated the impact of new guidelines issued in November that redefine high blood pressure. Dr. Schussheim, an expert in cardiovascular disease with subspecialty accreditations in cardiovascular imaging, lipidology, and hypertension, says while patients at higher risk for cardiovascular disease benefited from the stricter guidelines, those with lower risk experienced more harm than benefit from the intensive treatment recommendations.

“Clearly, more intensive treatment goals are appropriate for a segment of the population,” Dr. Schussheim said, “but our study suggests that we can be smarter about who is more likely to benefit from these aggressive targets and thus we can minimize potential side effects.”

The study by Dr. Schussheim and his colleagues may be able to refine the guidance of a recent panel recommendation for blood pressure. The new rules were issued by the American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology and nine other professional health organizations and classify hypertension as a reading of 130 systolic over 80 diastolic, rather than the previous targets of 140 over 90. Under these new tightened rules, 46 percent of U.S. adults are now considered hypertensive, up from 32 percent.

The call for more aggressive treatment is based largely on data from the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial, or SPRINT, which was a large-scale study of more than 9,000 people, sponsored by the NIH’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Dr. Schussheim’s study was a subsequent analysis of the SPRINT database and identified sub-populations even more likely to benefit from these lower targets.

Other researchers collaborating with Schussheim on this paper include Robert A Phillips, MD, PhD, Houston Methodist’s chief medical officer, Jiaqiong Xu, Ph.D., Leif E. Peterson, PhD, MPH, and Ryan M. Arnold, MPH, from Houston Methodist and Joseph A. Diamond, MD, cardiology department of Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine in Hempstead, NY.
Northeast Medical Group (NEMG) is a not-for-profit multispecialty medical foundation established in 2010. NEMG integrates physicians across Yale New Haven Health and helps provide more coordinated, comprehensive, safe and high quality health care for patients across the entire continuum – primary, specialty, inpatient, outpatient, rehabilitative and preventive care. NEMG represents more than 120 locations and 835 physicians and medical professionals affiliated with Bridgeport, Greenwich, Lawrence + Memorial, Westerly and Yale New Haven hospitals. www.northeastmedicalgroup.org

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