Patients with resistant hypertension are at high risk for adverse cardiovascular events. Efforts have been focused on lowering the surrogate endpoint of blood pressure (BP) with scant focus on reduction of hard cardiovascular endpoints. However, whether or not intensive lipid lowering is beneficial for reducing the risk of cardiovascular events in this high-risk cohort is not known.Methods and results
We evaluated 10 001 patients with coronary artery disease and a low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level <130 mg/dL, randomized to atorvastatin 80 vs. 10 mg, enrolled in the Treating to New Targets trial. Treatment-resistant hypertension (TRH) was defined as BP ≥140 mmHg despite being on three antihypertensive agents or <140 mmHg on four or more agents. Subjects were followed up for a median duration of 4.9 years. The primary outcome was major cardiovascular events (composite of non-fatal myocardial infarction (MI), fatal coronary heart disease (CHD), resuscitated cardiac arrest, and stroke). Among the 10 001 patients in the trial, 1112 (11.1%) patients had TRH. Atorvastatin 80 mg, in patients with TRH, was associated with a significant reduction in the risk of the primary outcome (HR = 0.70; 95% CI 0.52–0.93; P = 0.01), driven largely by a significant reduction in CHD deaths (HR = 0.55; 95% CI 0.32–0.97; P = 0.04). In addition, atorvastatin 80 mg was associated with a reduction in major coronary events (HR = 0.67; 95% CI 0.49–0.93; P = 0.02), and any cardiovascular or coronary event and with a trend (P = 0.05) towards reduction in all-cause mortality (HR = 0.68; 95% CI 0.46–1.01) when compared with atorvastatin 10 mg. The results were similar when analysed for the two separate components of the TRH cohort.Conclusion
In subjects with TRH, intensive lipid lowering with atorvastatin 80 mg is associated with a significant reduction in cardiovascular events.