Systolic blood pressure, a readily available vital sign taken at hospital admission, has been found to be a key factor in predicting mortality risk and revealing important disease characteristics for heart failure patients, according to a team of academic researchers.
These new findings indicate that heart failure patients with higher systolic blood pressures had substantially lower death rates compared to patients with lower systolic pressures, and that lower systolic pressures may indicate more advanced disease and a poorer prognosis.
Published in the Nov. 8 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, the new study found that the level of systolic blood pressure taken at hospital admission offers insight into different stages of heart failure, prognosis, and disease development. This study also revealed that systolic hypertension is very common in patients admitted to the hospital for heart failure -- present in over 50 percent of patients.
"Systolic blood pressure taken at hospital admission was a strong independent predictor of mortality and morbidity in this large, representative heart failure patient population. We hope the findings may help clinicians more effectively stratify risk and offer more targeted treatments based on a patient's systolic blood pressure level," said Dr. Gregg C. Fonarow, The Eliot Corday Chair in Cardiovascular Medicine and Science, principal investigator and director, Ahmanson-UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center.
Systolic blood pressure demonstrates the maximum arterial pressure during contraction of the left ventricle of the heart -- typically the first number in a blood pressure reading (for example, 120 mm Hg when the blood pressure is reported as 120/80 mm Hg -- measured in millimeters of mercury). Heart failure occurs when the heart is not working effectively, including when the heart's left ventricle can't pump enough blood to the body's other organs.