(HealthDay News) – For African-American patients with uncontrolled hypertension, an intervention consisting of peer- and practice-based support is associated with reduced systolic blood pressure (SBP) and a nonsignificant trend toward reduced coronary heart disease (CHD) risk at four years.

To evaluate whether peer coaching and office staff support reduces participants’ four-year CHD risk and SBP, Barbara J. Turner, MD, of the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, and colleagues conducted a six-month trial involving 280 African-American participants, aged 40–75 years, with sustained, uncontrolled hypertension. Participants were randomized to receive three monthly calls from trained peer patients with well-controlled hypertension as well as two office staff visits every other month (intervention; 136 participants) or usual care (144 participants).

The researchers found that, based on CHD end point data from 69% of intervention participants and 82% of control patients, there was a trend toward reduced risk for CHD favoring the intervention, but the reduction was not statistically significant. Significantly more intervention versus control patients achieved a >5mmHg reduction in SBP (61 vs. 45%). The absolute SBP reduction was also significantly higher for the intervention group (difference, −6.47mmHg).

“A complementary peer- and practice-based intervention resulted in a nonsignificant reduction of four-year CHD risk, but a clinically significant drop in systolic blood pressure in African-Americans with poorly controlled hypertension,” the authors write.

The study was partially funded by an unrestricted grant from Pfizer.

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