Declining blood pressure and intensification of blood pressure management among people over 80 years: cohort study using electronic health records

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Background:Management of high blood pressure (BP) in people over 80 years is controversial, but there is limited information available concerning the uptake of hypertension treatment at this age.Objective:To evaluate use of antihypertensive drugs and changes in SBP and DBP from 2001 to 2014 in men and women aged 80 years and over.Methods:Cohort study using primary care electronic health records of 265 225 participants from the UK Clinical Practice Research Datalink. Records of BP and antihypertensive medications were analysed. Linear trends were estimated by frailty category in multiple regression models.Results:Data were analysed for 116 401 men and 148 824 women. The proportion with BP recorded increased from 51% in 2001 to 78% in 2014. The proportion of patients prescribed antihypertensive medications increased from 64 to 76%. Mean SBP declined from 150 (SD 20) mmHg in 2001 to 135 (16) mmHg in 2014. In ‘fit’ participants, the decline in SBP was 12.4 (95% confidence interval 11.9–13.0) mmHg/decade in those treated for hypertension and 8.5 (7.8–9.1) mmHg in those not treated. The decline in SBP was smaller as frailty increased. The proportion of all participants with BP less than 140/90 mmHg increased from 14 to 44% in the study period.Conclusion:In octogenarians, BP treatment has intensified between 2001 and 2014. BP values have declined in both treated and untreated participants, with a substantial increase in the proportion achieving conventional BP targets.

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