(HealthDay News) – A barber-based intervention – whereby barbers offer blood pressure (BP) checks with haircuts and motivate black male patrons with high BP to seek provider follow-up – is associated with a significant reduction in systolic BP when barbers refer patrons to hypertension specialists rather than primary care providers (PCP), according to a study published in the Nov. 1 issue of The American Journal of Cardiology.
Florian Rader, MD, from the Cedar-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, and colleagues performed a post hoc comparison of systolic BP reduction between 68 PCP-treated comparison-arm patrons with 37 PCP-treated intervention-arm patrons and 33 intervention-arms patron who lacked access to PCPs and were treated by hypertension specialist physicians. Participants had baseline systolic BP ≥140mmHg and were followed for 10 months.
The researchers found that the highest baseline BP was seen among men with hypertension who lacked access to PCPs. Systolic BP reduction was significantly greater (21 ± 4mmHg) when barbers referred patrons to hypertension specialists than in the comparison group (P<0.0001), but was not significantly different when barbers referred patrons to PCPs (P=0.31), after adjustment for baseline systolic BP and other confounding variables. Compared with PCP-treated patrons, specialist-treated patrons received more BP medication and different classes of medication.
“The barber-based intervention — if connected directly to specialty-level medical care – could have a large public health impact on hypertensive disease in black men,” the authors write.