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Blood Press. 2000;9(5):260-6.

Pulse pressure: a predictor of cardiovascular mortality among young normotensive subjects.

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Department of Epidemiology and Social Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, Bronx 10461, USA.


Wide pulse pressure has been associated with increased cardiovascular disease events among hypertensive subjects. To test the hypothesis that this association also exists among normotensive subjects, data from the first National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey and the 1992 Epidemiological Follow-up Study were analyzed. The study group included 7346 participants, aged 25-74 years, with baseline blood pressure levels <140/90 mmHg and without a history of hypertension. Deaths from cardiovascular disease and all other causes were determined. At entry, mean age and blood pressure level were 43.4 years and 118/76 mmHg. During an average follow-up period of 17.4 years, there were 1443 (19.6%) deaths, 557 of them ascribed to cardiovascular disease. Age-race-adjusted cardiovascular mortality was significantly higher for those in the highest quartile of pulse pressure (> or = 50 mmHg). However, after stratification into age <55 years and > or = 55 years, and controlling for other cardiovascular risk factors, increased pulse pressure was associated with cardiovascular mortality only in younger men and women. In these subjects, men and women with pulse pressures > or = 48, and > or = 46 mmHg, respectively, had a relative risk (95% confidence in terval) of 2.35 (1.21-4.38) and 2.90 (1.34-4.98) for cardiovascular mortality with those with pulse pressures of less than 36 and 34 mmHg, respectively (p < 0.05) as reference. While systolic blood pressure by itself was a weaker predictor of cardiovascular mortality than pulse pressure, diastolic and mean arterial pressure were not predictive at all. No measure of blood pressure was related to mortality in those aged > or = 55 years. In conclusion, among young subjects, but not older normotensive persons, at very low risk of cardiovascular disease, a wide pulse pressure is associated with increased cardiovascular mortality.

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