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Original Investigation
April 2017

Effect of Intensive Blood Pressure Control on Gait Speed and Mobility Limitation in Adults 75 Years or OlderA Randomized Clinical Trial

Author Affiliations
  • 1School of Biological and Population Health Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis
  • 2Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco
  • 3Bedford Veterans Affairs Hospital, Bedford, Massachusetts
  • 4School of Public Health, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 5Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis
  • 6Department of Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
  • 7Primary Care Division, Clement J. Zablocki Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • 8Section on Cardiology, Department of Internal Medicine, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  • 9Veterans Affairs Salt Lake City Healthcare System, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • 10Department of Medicine, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City
  • 11Georgetown University, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Washington, DC
  • 12Section on Geriatric Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  • 13Division of Public Health Sciences, Department of Biostatistical Sciences, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
JAMA Intern Med. 2017;177(4):500-507. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.9104
Key Points

Question  Does targeting a systolic blood pressure of less than 120 mm Hg affect gait speed among adults 75 years or older with hypertension?

Findings  In this randomized clinical trial of 2636 individuals, no differences were found between the intensive- and standard-treatment groups on changes in gait speed or mobility limitation during 3 years of follow-up.

Meaning  Intensive blood pressure control does not appear to have an important effect on short-term gait speed decline among older adults.

Abstract

Importance  Intensive blood pressure (BP) control confers a benefit on cardiovascular morbidity and mortality; whether it affects physical function outcomes is unknown.

Objective  To examine the effect of intensive BP control on changes in gait speed and mobility status.

Design, Setting, and Participants  This randomized, clinical trial included 2636 individuals 75 years or older with hypertension and no history of type 2 diabetes or stroke who participated in the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT). Data were collected from November 8, 2010, to December 1, 2015. Analysis was based on intention to treat.

Interventions  Participants were randomized to intensive treatment with a systolic BP target of less than 120 mm Hg (n = 1317) vs standard treatment with a BP target of less than 140 mm Hg (n = 1319).

Main Outcomes and Measures  Gait speed was measured using a 4-m walk test. Self-reported information concerning mobility was obtained from items on the Veterans RAND 12-Item Health Survey and the EQ-5D. Mobility limitation was defined as a gait speed less than 0.6 meters per second (m/s) or self-reported limitations in walking and climbing stairs.

Results  Among the 2629 participants in whom mobility status could be defined (996 women [37.9%]; 1633 men [62.1%]; mean [SD] age, 79.9 [4.0] years), median (interquartile range) follow-up was 3 (2-3) years. No difference in mean gait speed decline was noted between the intensive- and standard-treatment groups (mean difference, 0.0004 m/s per year; 95% CI, −0.005 to 0.005; P = .88). No evidence of any treatment group differences in subgroups defined by age, sex, race or ethnicity, baseline systolic BP, chronic kidney disease, or a history of cardiovascular disease were found. A modest interaction was found for the Veterans RAND 12-Item Health Survey Physical Component Summary score, although the effect did not reach statistical significance in either subgroup, with mean differences of 0.004 (95% CI, −0.002 to 0.010) m/s per year among those with scores of at least 40 and −0.008 (95% CI, −0.016 to 0.001) m/s per year among those with scores less than 40 (P = .03 for interaction). Multistate models allowing for the competing risk of death demonstrated no effect of intensive treatment on transitions to mobility limitation (hazard ratio, 1.06; 95% CI, 0.92-1.22).

Conclusions and Relevance  Among adults 75 years or older in SPRINT, treating to a systolic BP target of less than 120 mm Hg compared with a target of less than 140 mm Hg had no effect on changes in gait speed and was not associated with changes in mobility limitation.

Trial Registration  clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT01206062

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