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Antecedent blood pressure, body mass index, and the risk of incident heart failure in later life


Higher blood pressure and body mass index (BMI) are risk factors for heart failure.  It is unknown whether the presence of these risk factors in mid-adulthood affect the future development of heart failure.  In the community-based Framingham Heart Study, the investigators examined the associations of antecedent blood pressure and BMI with heart failure incidence in later life.

The authors studied 3,362participants (57% women; mean age: 62 years) who attended routine examinations between 1969 and 1994 and examined their systolic and diastolic blood pressure, pulse pressure, and BMI at current(baseline), recent (average of readings obtained one to 10 years before baseline), and remote (average of readings obtained 11to 20 years before baseline) time periods.

Results show that during 67,240 person-years of follow-up, 518 participants (280 women) developed heart failure. Current, recent, and remote systolic pressure; pulse pressure; and BMI were individually associated with incident heart failure(all P<0.001).  Recent systolic pressure (hazards ratio [HR]per 1-SD increment: 1.31; 95% CI: 1.11 to 1.55), pulse pressure(HR per 1-SD increment: 1.33; 95% CI: 1.14 to 1.54), and BMI(HR per unit increase: 1.15; 95% CI: 1.08 to 1.23) were associated with heart failure risk even after adjusting for current measures.

Similarly, remote systolic pressure (HR per 1 SD: 1.17; 95%CI: 1.04 to 1.31), pulse pressure (HR per 1 SD: 1.17; 95% CI:1.06 to 1.31), and BMI (HR per unit: 1.09; 95% CI: 1.05 to 1.14)remained associated with incident heart failure after adjusting for current measurements.  Higher blood pressure and BMI in midlife are harbingers of increased risk of heart failure in later life. Early risk factor modification may decrease heart failure burden.



Lee DS, Massaro JM, Wang TJ, Kannel WB, Benjamin EJ, Kenchaiah S, Levy D, D'Agostino RB, Vasan RS. Hypertension. 2007; 50(5):869-76. Epub 2007 Sep 24.

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