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J Hypertens. 2003 Dec;21(12):2409-17.

Results of the pilot study for the Hypertension in the Very Elderly Trial.

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Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, UK.



The risks and benefits of treating hypertension in individuals older than 80 years are uncertain. A meta-analysis has suggested that a reduction in stroke events of 36% may have to be balanced against a 14% increase in total mortality.


To report the results of the pilot study of the Hypertension in the Very Elderly Trial (HYVET), which is in progress to address these issues.


The HYVET-Pilot was a multicentre international open pilot trial. In 10 European countries, 1283 patients older than 80 years and with a sustained blood pressure of 160-219/90-109 mmHg were allocated randomly to one of three treatments: a diuretic-based regimen (usually bendroflumethiazide; n = 426), an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor regimen (usually lisinopril; n = 431) or no treatment (n = 426). The procedure permitted doses of the drug to be titrated and diltiazem slow-release to be added to active treatment. Target blood pressure was < 150/80 mmHg and mean follow-up was 13 months.


In the combined actively treated groups, the reduction in stroke events relative hazard rate (RHR) was 0.47 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.24 to 0.93] and the reduction in stroke mortality RHR was 0.57 (95% CI 0.25 to 1.32). However, the estimate of total mortality supported the possibility of excess deaths with active treatment (RHR 1.23, 95% CI 0.75 to 2.01).


The preliminary results support the need for the continuing main HYVET trial. It is possible that treatment of 1000 patients for 1 year may reduce stroke events by 19 (nine non-fatal), but may be associated with 20 extra non-stroke deaths.

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