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Presse Med. 1992 Nov 7;21(37):1762-7.

[Cooperative study of systolic arterial hypertension in the elderly patient (SHEP). Comments].

[Article in French]

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Centre de Médecine préventive cardiovasculaire, Hôpital Broussais, Paris.


SHEP (Systolic Hypertension in the Elderly Program) is a multicenter controlled therapeutic trial which included 4,736 subjects aged 60 years and over, who had isolated systolic hypertension at three consecutive visits at the outpatient clinic. The treatment, based on low doses of diuretic (chlorthalidone 12.5-25 mg daily) combined, when necessary, with a cardioselective beta-blocker (atenolol 25 to 50 mg daily), significantly reduced the incidence of cerebrovascular and coronary events; the relative risk reduction for total mortality was not statistically significant. The beneficial cardiovascular effects were observed in both sexes, and in the 80+ age group. These results show that this particular therapy applied to this form of hypertension decreases the risk of both coronary and cerebral events, as was already suggested by the meta-analysis of the controlled therapeutic trials performed with diuretics, beta-blockers and other older antihypertensive drugs in patients with permanent diastolic hypertension. They also show the limitations of this therapeutic strategy, which controlled only 50 percent of the patients who were, however, highly selected, especially concerning the absence of associated morbid conditions and treatments. The need for, and feasibility of, new controlled therapeutic trials comparing the mortality and morbidity associated with various new antihypertensive therapies must now be discussed.

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