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This article is the author’s final published version in JAMA Network Open, Volume 4, Issue 10, October 2021, Article number e2128980.

The published version is available at Copyright © Foy et al.


Importance: Low diastolic blood pressure (DBP) has been found to be associated with increased adverse cardiovascular events; however, it is unknown whether intensifying blood pressure therapy in patients with an already low DBP to achieve a lower systolic blood pressure (SBP) target is safe or effective.

Objective: To evaluate whether there is an association of baseline DBP and intensification of blood pressure-lowering therapy with the outcomes of all-cause death and cardiovascular events.

Design, setting, and participants: This cohort study analyzed patients who were randomized to intensive or standard BP control in the Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes-Blood Pressure (ACCORD-BP) trial and Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT). Data were collected from September 1999 to June 2009 (ACCORD-BP) and from October 2010 to August 2015 (SPRINT). Data were analyzed from December 2020 to June 2021.

Exposures: Baseline DBP as a continuous variable.

Main outcomes and measures: All-cause death and a composite cardiovascular end point (CVE) that included cardiovascular death, nonfatal myocardial infarction, and nonfatal stroke.

Results: A total of 14 094 patients (mean [SD] age, 66.2 [8.9] years; 8504 [60.4%] men) were included in this analysis. There were significant nonlinear associations between baseline DBP and all-cause death (eg, baseline DBP 50 vs 80 mm Hg: hazard ratio [HR], 1.48; 95% CI, 1.06-2.08; P = .02) and the composite CVE (eg, baseline DBP 50 vs 80 mm Hg: HR, 1.45; 95% CI, 1.27-3.04; P = .003) observed among all participants. Findings for the interaction between baseline DBP and treatment group assignment for all cause death did not reach statistical significance. For intensive vs standard therapy, the HR of death for a baseline DBP of 50 mm Hg was 1.80 (95% CI, 0.95-3.39; P = .07) and that for a baseline DBP of 80 mm Hg was 0.77 (95% CI, 0.59-1.01; P = .05). Overall, there was no interaction found between baseline DBP and treatment group assignment for the composite CVE. Over the range of baseline DBP values, significant reductions in the composite CVE for patients assigned to intensive vs standard therapy were found for baseline DBP values of 80 mm Hg (HR, 0.78; 95% CI, 0.62-0.98; P = .03) and 90 mm Hg (HR, 0.74; 95% CI, 0.55-0.98; P = .04).

Conclusions and relevance: This pooled cohort study found no evidence of a significant interaction between baseline DBP and treatment intensity for all-cause death or for a composite CVE. These results are hypothesis generating and merit further study.

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