Conference Coverage

Be aware, mindfulness training can lower systolic BP: MB-BP


AT AHA 2022

Effects on medication use

Systolic BP responses led some program participants to be managed on fewer or reduced dosages of antihypertensive meds, he told this news organization. Physicians seen outside of the trial could adjust their prescriptions, intensifying or pulling back on meds depending on their assessments of the patient. Any prescription changes would be documented by the researchers at the patient’s next class or trial-clinic visit.

The group that did the training, Dr. Loucks said, was 33% less likely to increase and 30% more likely to decrease their use of BP-lowering medications compared with the control group.

Elevated BP is so common and undertreated that “there is a need for every possible level of intervention, starting from the population level to the individual and everything else in between,” nephrologist Janani Rangaswami, MD, George Washington University, Washington, said at the press conference.

Therefore, “this mindfulness-based approach, in addition to standard of care with pharmacotherapy, is a really welcome addition to the hypertension literature,” said Dr. Rangaswami, who directs her center’s cardiorenal program. The systolic BP reduction seen in the intervention group, she agreed, was “clinically important and meaningful.”

Blinded assessments

The trial entered 201 patients with systolic and diastolic BP greater than 120 mm Hg and 80 mm Hg, respectively; 58.7% were women, 81% were White, and 73% were college-educated, Dr. Loucks reported.

The 100 assigned to the “enhanced usual care” control group received educational materials on controlling high BP. They and the 101 who followed the mindfulness-based program were given and trained on a home BP-monitoring device. They were then followed for the primary endpoint of change in systolic BP at 6 months.

Data management and outcomes assessments were conducted by trialists not involved in the training intervention who were blinded to randomization assignment.

In a prespecified unadjusted analysis by intention-to-treat, systolic BP in the intervention group dropped by a mean of 5.9 mm Hg (P < .001) compared with baseline and 4.5 mm Hg (P = .045), compared with the control group.

A post hoc analysis adjusted for sex and baseline BP showed an average 4.3 mm Hg reduction (P = .056) in those following the MB-BP program, compared with controls.

There were no observed significant effects on diastolic BP.

The study offered clues to how engagement in the MB-BP program might promote reductions in systolic BP, Dr. Loucks observed. For example, it may have led to increased activity levels, reduced sodium intake, and other dietary improvements.

Indeed, program participants averaged about 351 minutes less sedentary time (P = .02) and showed a 0.32-point improvement in Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension scores (P = .08), compared with the control group, Dr. Loucks reported. Other modifiable risk factors for elevated BP that could have responded to the mindfulness-based training, he proposed, include obesity, alcohol intake, and reaction to stress.

Dr. Loucks reports that he developed the MB-BP training and was a program instructor but did not receive related financial compensation; he had no other disclosures. Dr. Khera, Dr. Touyz, and Dr. Rangaswami had no relevant financial relationships.

A version of this article first appeared on


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