May 8, 2009

Blood pressure control intervention works

Canadian researchers say a simple, automated monitoring system helped lower patients' blood pressure.

The study, published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, found those in the intervention group showed an average reduction of 11.9 millimeters of mercury in systolic blood pressure and 6.6 mm Hg in diastolic pressure versus the control group's reductions of 7.1 mm Hg systolic and 4.5 mm Hg diastolic.

This system worked as efficaciously as if we had added a new medication on top of the patients' other medications, senior study author Dr. Pavel Hamet of the University of Montreal said in a statement.

Hamet said the computer-based system asked patients for their latest blood pressure reading at least weekly and relayed the information to each patient's physician and pharmacist who then intervened if a reading presented a problem.

For example, the system alerted pharmacists when patients had not picked up their prescription refills on time, Hamet says.

The study was based on 223 hypertension patients recruited through 21 physicians at eight primary care clinics in Laval, Quebec.