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Article
January 23, 1991

The J-Curve Phenomenon and the Treatment of HypertensionIs There a Point Beyond Which Pressure Reduction Is Dangerous?

Author Affiliations

From the College of Pharmacy, The University of Texas at Austin (Drs Farnett and Linn); the Division of General Internal Medicine, the Department of Medicine, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (Drs Mulrow and Lucey); and the Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center at the Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veterans Hospital at San Antonio (Tex) (Drs Mulrow and Tuley).

From the College of Pharmacy, The University of Texas at Austin (Drs Farnett and Linn); the Division of General Internal Medicine, the Department of Medicine, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (Drs Mulrow and Lucey); and the Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center at the Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veterans Hospital at San Antonio (Tex) (Drs Mulrow and Tuley).

JAMA. 1991;265(4):489-495. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03460040065031
Abstract

We critically appraised the medical literature to evaluate whether there is a point beyond which blood pressure reduction in hypertensive subjects is no longer beneficial and possibly even deleterious. Thirteen studies that stratified cardiovascular outcomes by level of achieved blood pressure in treated hypertensive subjects who had been followed up for at least 1 year were critiqued by four independent reviewers. Data addressing population, protocol, and methodological characteristics were evaluated. Studies did not show a consistent J-shaped relationship between treated blood pressure and stroke, but they did demonstrate a consistent J-shaped relationship for cardiac events and diastolic blood pressure. The beneficial therapeutic threshold point was 85 mm Hg. We conclude that low treated diastolic blood pressure levels, ie, below 85 mm Hg, are associated with increased risk of cardiac events.

(JAMA. 1991;265:489-495)

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