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Lowering BP in Dialysis Cases Cuts Heart Risks

Study says drugs could prevent 2 of 10 deaths expected in every 100 patients per year

THURSDAY, Feb. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Blood pressure-lowering drugs should be routinely considered for dialysis patients, because it could protect them from major cardiovascular events and death, say researchers who reviewed the findings of eight clinical trials.

Those studies assessed the effects of lowering blood pressure in a total of 1,679 adult dialysis patients who experienced 495 cardiovascular events. The review authors found that treatment with blood pressure-lowering drugs reduced the risk of cardiovascular complications, cardiovascular deaths, and death by all other causes.

Data from seven studies showed that average systolic blood pressure was 4.5 mm HG lower and diastolic blood pressure was 2.3 mm HG lower in patients who received blood pressure-lowering drugs than in untreated patients.

The protective effects of a wide range of blood pressure-lowering drugs were similar regardless of hypertension and other health conditions. The review authors also found that blood pressure-lowering treatment was tolerated well by patients.

"If our data are applied to a broad population of patients on dialysis with an annual mortality rate of about 10 percent, we calculate that blood pressure-lowering treatment could prevent two of the 10 deaths expected to occur in every 100 patients per year. The absolute benefit will be greater for individuals at higher absolute risk, and is much greater than that reported for many other interventions in routine use," concluded Vlado Perkovic, of The George Institute for International Health in Australia, and colleagues.

The findings were published online and were expected to be in an upcoming print issue of The Lancet.

Each year, between 10 percent and 20 percent of dialysis patients die, and almost half of those deaths are due to cardiovascular causes. Currently, there are no treatments proven to reduce that risk.

More information

The National Kidney Foundation has more about dialysis.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: The Lancet, news release, Feb. 25, 2009

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