Is There a Magic Number for High Pressure?

New Guidelines Recommend Higher Targets for Older Adults

Washington, D.C., January 24, 2016One in three adults in the U.S. has high blood pressure. That number climbs to two in three for older adults.

Recently, two medical groups released recommendations that set safe blood pressure targets higher than ever for adults 60 and older – a group at high risk for complications from high blood pressure.

Traditionally, the threshold for high blood pressure has been set at 140/90 mm/Hg. But the new guidelines, from the American College of Physicians and the American Academy of Family Physicians, state that patients older than 60 should begin treatment if their systolic blood pressure (top number) reaches 150. If the patient has high cardiovascular risk or a history of stroke, treatment should begin at 140.

The new recommendations come after a series of studies that show that a lower systolic blood pressure increases heart-health benefits for adults 60 and older, including reduced risk of heart attack and stroke. The Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT) in 2015 found that targeting a blood pressure of 120 or lower was more effective to reduce the rates of major cardiovascular events than targeting 140.

“It’s difficult to draw absolute conclusions from these studies for a variety of reasons,” said Allen J. Taylor, MD, chief of Cardiology with MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. “It’s important to remember that blood pressure doesn’t just measure pressure. It’s also a marker for other things going on in your body, such as stress, heredity factors, diet and exercise.” 

Dr. Taylor concluded that there’s no magic blood pressure number that applies to everyone. “Your health history and lifestyle greatly influence your heart health and what’s safe for you. Work with your doctor to monitor and effectively manage your blood pressure.”

The guidelines were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine and the Annals of Family Medicine.

About MedStar Washington Hospital Center:
MedStar Washington Hospital Center is a 926-bed, major teaching and research hospital. It is the largest private, not-for-profit hospital in the nation’s capital, among the 100 largest hospitals in the nation and a major referral center for treating the most complex cases. U.S.News & World Report consistently ranks the hospital’s cardiology and heart surgery program as one of the nation’s best. It also is a respected top facility in the areas of cancer, diabetes & endocrinology, Ear, Nose & Throat, gastroenterology & GI surgery, geriatrics, gynecology, nephrology, pulmonology and urology. It operates MedSTAR, a nationally-verified level I trauma center with a state-of-the-art fleet of helicopters and ambulances, and also operates the region’s only adult Burn Center.

Media Contact

So Young Pak
202-877-2748
[email protected]

Cutting-Edge ACL Repair Puts Patients Back on Top Quickly

Procedure Reduces Recovery Time and Patients Experience Less Pain

Washington, D.C., March 4, 2016– Kaniya Brown of Accokeek, Maryland, has returned to running after a devastating knee injury. The track star tore her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) while playing soccer. ACL tears are common sports injuries that often require surgery, followed by months of rehabilitation. Instead, Kaniya underwent an innovative procedure that repairs the ACL, allowing for quicker recovery and less pain.

Conventional ACL surgery requires the orthopaedic surgeon to drill tunnels through the bones on either side of the knee joint and replace the torn ACL with a tendon graft, usually from the patient’s own body. With the new, minimally invasive approach, the ACL is repaired with an internal brace. An orthopaedic surgeon passes a high tensile-strength, braided suture through the repaired ligament in the knee, to provide additional support while the ligament is healing. The suture functions internally like a knee brace.

“It is minimal trauma to the knee,” said Wiemi Douoguih, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon with MedStar Orthopaedic Institute at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. “Since it’s located inside the knee joint, it’s more effective than an external knee brace and the innovative suture technique helps speed up recovery time." 

Two weeks after her surgery, Kaniya started walking. Nearly five months later, Kaniya resumed running and played soccer, too. She hopes to compete on the track team at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore where she’s a freshman.

An estimated 200,000 ACL injuries occur annually. The rate of injury is higher in people who play high-risk sports, such as basketball, football, skiing and soccer. 

Published studies in the American Journal of Sports Medicine finds only about 43 percent of high school and college football players who have undergone conventional ACL surgery are able to return to play at their pre-injury level. And data collected for the past 20 years shows that as many as 61 percent of patients develop symptomatic arthritis, and up to 36 percent of patients will have recurrent ACL tears. 

“Prior to this, the results were less than perfect and we’ve been searching for a solution that would pose the least amount of trauma to patients and minimize long-term problems,” added Dr. Douoguih.

Learn more about the cutting-edge procedure and Kaniya’s return to a sport she loves in the video below.

MedStar Washington Hospital Center is a 926-bed, major teaching and research hospital. It is the largest private, not-for-profit hospital in the nation’s capital, among the 100 largest hospitals in the nation and a major referral center for treating the most complex cases. U.S.News & World Report consistently ranks the hospital’s cardiology and heart surgery program as one of the nation’s best. It also is a respected top facility in the areas of cancer, diabetes & endocrinology, Ear, Nose & Throat, gastroenterology & GI surgery, geriatrics, gynecology, nephrology, pulmonology and urology. It operates MedSTAR, a nationally-verified level I trauma center with a state-of-the-art fleet of helicopters and ambulances, and also operates the region’s only adult Burn Center.

Media Contacts

Sylvia Ballinger
202-877-7072
[email protected] 

 

So Young Pak
202-877-2748
[email protected]