On 14th June 2015, a famous media house in Nepal published an article suggesting that blood pressure decreased followed the recent Nepal earthquake. According to the article, two cardiologists were reporting a 50 percent decrease in blood pressure following the earthquake in circa 900 patients. To address this apparent paradox we had the opportunity to contrast blood pressure in the community the earthquake and nine-days after the earthquake.Design and Method:
This study is part of a baseline study of a larger community-based cluster randomized controlled trial being conducted in Nepal (NCT02428075). We compared 505 randomly selected respondents whose blood pressure was measured before the earthquake with additional randomly selected 505 respondents whose blood pressure was measured 9 days after the initial earthquake from the same study area. The pre quake and post quake difference in Systolic Blood Pressure (SBP) and Diastolic Blood Pressure (DBP) was estimated through regression analysis in two cross sectional populations, adjusting for sex, age, tobacco, alcohol, body mass index, and fruit and vegetable servings a day.Results:
Average Blood Pressure (BP) before and after the earthquake were 125.56/82.24 mmHg and 123.04/80.49 mmHg respectively. The average blood pressure difference at 9 days post earthquake compared to the before 9 days was −0.83 (95% CI: − 2.88; 1.22) mmHg / -−0.74 (95% CI: -−2.02; 0.52) mmHg. In a separate analysis among hypertensive participants (>=120/80 mmHg), SBP and DBP differences were 2.02 (95% CI: -−1.78; 5.83) mmHg and 1.11 (95% CI: -−1.03; 3.26) mmHg respectively after the earthquake.Conclusions:
The above results showed no statistically significant difference on the average BP level before and after the earthquake for two randomly selected cross-sectional populations (p > 0.05). The claims by the national daily from Nepal of changes in blood pressure may have been based on other factors that we cannot account for.