Hypertension Treatment and Longevity
Researchers at RWJMS have shown that the use of antihypertensive drug therapy is associated with longer life expectancy (survival) in a follow-up study to the landmark clinical trial, Systolic Hypertension in the Elderly Program (SHEP). “Nearly 22 years after the initiation of the SHEP trial, we can confirm the legacy effect of treating hypertension, particularly in the elderly,” says John B. Kostis, MD, the John G. Detwiler Chair of Cardiology and chair of the RWJMS Department of Medicine, who led the study.
Kostis’ team obtained mortality and cause-of-death data for 100 percent (more than 4,700) of the SHEP participants through December 2006. The researchers determined that the length of time that patients survived without experiencing a cardiovascular-related death was significantly longer for the group that received chlorthalidone treatment – approximately one day for every month of antihypertensive treatment, which may correspond to more than a year for people who start treatment in their 50s. The study was published online in December in the Journal of the American Medical Association. “Physicians may wish to use these data to encourage their patients to be compliant with prescribed treatment,” Kostis advises.