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Research Article

Does change in blood pressure predict heart disease?

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1983; 287 doi: (Published 23 July 1983) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1983;287:267
  1. A Hofman,
  2. M Feinleib,
  3. R J Garrison,
  4. A van Laar


    Whether a change in blood pressure is related to the occurrence of cardiovascular disease, independent of blood pressure level, was investigated using data collected in the Framingham heart study on 5209 subjects. The follow up period of 26 years was divided into a first period of 12 years in which the blood pressure change was computed for each individual and a subsequent period of 14 years in which the risk of cardiovascular disease was determined. Blood pressure change was positively related to risk of cardiovascular disease. This association remained when blood pressure level at the start of the study was taken into account but disappeared when the level attained after the first 12 years was taken into consideration. For the clinician this suggests that the decision to treat high blood pressure is best guided by the actual level of pressure and not by its long term trend in the past.