Inter-arm blood pressure difference and mortality: a cohort study in an asymptomatic primary care population at elevated cardiovascular risk.
Published on May 1, 2016in British Journal of General Practice4.19
· DOI :10.3399/BJGP16X684949
Background Differences in blood pressure between arms are associated with increased cardiovascular mortality in cohorts with established vascular disease or substantially elevated cardiovascular risk. Aim To explore the association of inter-arm difference (IAD) with mortality in a community-dwelling cohort that is free of cardiovascular disease. Design and setting Cohort analysis of a randomised controlled trial in central Scotland, from April 1998 to October 2008. Method Volunteers from Lanarkshire, Glasgow, and Edinburgh, free of pre-existing vascular disease and with an ankle-brachial index ≤0.95, had systolic blood pressure measured in both arms at recruitment. Inter-arm blood pressure differences were calculated and examined for cross-sectional associations and differences in prospective survival. Outcome measures were cardiovascular events and all-cause mortality during mean follow-up of 8.2 years. Results Based on a single pair of measurements, 60% of 3350 participants had a systolic IAD ≥5 mmHg and 38% ≥10 mmHg. An IAD ≥5 mmHg was associated with increased cardiovascular mortality (adjusted hazard ratio [HR] 1.91, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.19 to 3.07) and all-cause mortality (adjusted HR 1.44, 95% CI = 1.15 to 1.79). Within the subgroup of 764 participants who had hypertension, IADs of ≥5 mmHg or ≥10 mmHg were associated with both cardiovascular mortality (adjusted HR 2.63, 95% CI = 0.97 to 7.02, and adjusted HR 2.96, 95% CI = 1.27 to 6.88, respectively) and all-cause mortality (adjusted HR 1.67, 95% CI = 1.05 to 2.66, and adjusted HR 1.63, 95% CI = 1.06 to 2.50, respectively). IADs ≥15 mmHg were not associated with survival differences in this population. Conclusion Systolic IADs in blood pressure are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular events, including mortality, in a large cohort of people free of pre-existing vascular disease.