High blood pressure or hypertension is a well-known risk factor for heart attack and stroke. And while there is currently a lot of controversy over exact blood pressures to be targeted in different populations, one group of people remains especially problematic: those with slightly high blood pressure. These folks aren't clearly at risk for a cardiovascular event and no one wants to use medicines daily if they aren't really needed. Now a new study from Johns Hopkins published in Circulation that Rick and I discuss on PodMed this week may help.
Hopkins researchers used data from a long term study known by the acronym MESA for Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. Blood pressure measurements as well as routine risk calculators were used to calculate cardiovascular risk for over 3700 participants. Then researchers added coronary calcium scoring, a quick, noninvasive CT scan of the heart, to the mix. They found that adding this score was able to much more accurately inform which of those subjects with slightly elevated blood pressure would benefit from using blood pressure lowering medication. As Rick and I note in the podcast, however, the real proof of utility will come when a prospective study is done on this group of people, but for now, it helps inform decision making.
Other topics this week include two from JAMA: Reevaluation of Diagnosis in Adults With Physician-Diagnosed Asthma and Association Between Diabetes and Cause-Specific Mortality in Rural and Urban Areas of China, and a look at tonsillectomy in Pediatrics: Tonsillectomy Versus Watchful Waiting for Recurrent Throat Infection: A Systematic Review. Until next week, y'all live well.