How Low to Go: Details Emerge on Big Blood Pressure Study

Details were revealed Monday from a landmark federal study that challenges decades of thinking on blood pressure, giving a clearer picture of plusses and minuses of more aggressive treatment.

The study was stopped in September, nearly two years early, when it became clear that lower pressure for most people over 50 helps prevent heart problems and deaths, but side effects and other key details were not disclosed.

Full results came Monday at an American Heart Association conference in Orlando and were published online by the New England Journal of Medicine, along with a dozen commentaries in three science journals.

“Overall, we deemed that the benefits far outweigh the risks” of aiming lower, said one study leader, Dr. Paul Whelton of Tulane University.