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Antihypertensives in octogenarians

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 04 January 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:d7293
  1. Giuseppe Mancia, head, Clinica Medica
  1. 1University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Clinical Medicine and Prevention, 33-20900 Monza, Milan, Italy
  1. giuseppe.mancia{at}

Treatment has lasting benefits

The Hypertension in the Very Elderly Trial (HYVET) is one of the most important trials in the history of antihypertensive treatment. It showed that the use of antihypertensive drugs to reduce high blood pressure in patients aged 80 years or more was associated with a significant and marked reduction in the incidence of stroke and heart failure. It also found that treatment reduces all cause mortality, which means that cardiovascular protection translates into increased life expectancy.1 Given the steep increase in the number of people living beyond their 80s, these findings have important implications for public health.

In an open label treatment extension of the original HYVET study, Beckett and colleagues (doi:10.1136/bmj.d7541) follow the participants for one more year, during which time treatment was extended to participants who were previously taking placebo.2 These people subsequently reached similar blood pressure values to those who received active treatment …

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