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Hypertension. 2000 May;35(5):1025-30.

Hypokalemia associated with diuretic use and cardiovascular events in the Systolic Hypertension in the Elderly Program.

Author information

1
Institute for Research in Extramural Medicine, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Abstract

The treatment of hypertension with high-dose thiazide diuretics results in potassium depletion and a limited benefit for preventing coronary events. The clinical relevance of hypokalemia associated with low-dose diuretics has not been assessed. To determine whether hypokalemia that occurs with low-dose diuretics is associated with a reduced benefit on cardiovascular events, we analyzed data of 4126 participants in the Systolic Hypertension in the Elderly Program (SHEP), a 5-year randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial of chlorthalidone-based treatment of isolated systolic hypertension in older persons. After 1 year of treatment, 7.2% of the participants randomized to active treatment had a serum potassium <3.5 mmol/L compared with 1% of the participants randomized to placebo (P<0.001). During the 4 years after the first annual visit, 451 participants experienced a cardiovascular event, 215 experienced a coronary event, 177 experienced stroke, and 323 died. After adjustment for known risk factors and study drug dose, the participants who received active treatment and who experienced hypokalemia had a similar risk of cardiovascular events, coronary events, and stroke as those randomized to placebo. Within the active treatment group, the risk of these events was 51%, 55%, and 72% lower, respectively, among those who had normal serum potassium levels compared with those who experienced hypokalemia (P<0.05). The participants who had hypokalemia after 1 year of treatment with a low-dose diuretic did not experience the reduction in cardiovascular events achieved among those who did not have hypokalemia.

PMID:
10818057
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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