Does Lowering Blood Pressure With Antihypertensive Therapy Preserve Independence in Activities of Daily Living? A Systematic Review
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BACKGROUND: Hypertension is a major risk factor for functional impairment. Dependence is an important related outcome for older adults, but outcomes in hypertension trials appear to focus primarily on major vascular events. This systematic review had 2 objectives: (i) to determine the proportion of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) evaluating antihypertensive therapies that reported a measure of a person's ability to carry out activities of daily living (ADL) and (ii) to evaluate the effect of blood pressure (BP)-lowering therapies on ability to carry out ADL compared with control therapy. METHODS: We searched electronic databases, reference lists of relevant meta-analyses, and hypertension guidelines for clinical trials of adults with hypertension/prehypertension that were randomized to antihypertensive therapy or control for ≥1 year. RESULTS: Of 2,924 citations screened, there were 93 eligible RCTs. One (1%) reported ADL as a primary outcome measure. Nine (10%) reported ADL as a secondary outcome. Of these, 6 used validated ADL scales, whereas 4 measured ADL within quality-of-life scales. Six trials with duration of ≥1 year (n = 12,663) were amenable to meta-analysis, despite use of different ADL scales. The odds of having difficulty with ADL was reduced by BP-lowering therapy compared with control therapy (odds ratio = 0.84; 95% confidence interval = 0.77-0.92; I (2) = 0%). CONCLUSIONS: We identified few trials of antihypertensive therapy that reported ADL as an outcome measure, with heterogeneity in scales used. Antihypertensive therapy was associated with a lower risk of ADL impairment compared with control therapy. RCTs evaluating the effect of antihypertensive drugs on ADL in older adults with mild hypertension are required.
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