To investigate the association between blood pressure and mortality in people aged 85 and older.
Population-based prospective study with 9-year follow-up.
Department of Neuroscience and Neurology and Department of Public Health and General Practice, University of Kuopio, and Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Helsinki University Hospital.
Of all 601 people living in the city of Vantaa born before April 1, 1906, whether living at home or in institutions and alive on April 1, 1991, 521 were clinically examined and underwent blood pressure measurement.
Blood pressure was measured using a standardized method in the right arm of the subject after resting for at least 5 minutes. Information on medical history for each participant was verified from a computerized database containing all primary care health records. Death certificates were obtained from the National Register; the collection of death certificates was complete.
After adjusting for age, sex, functional status, and coexisting diseases (earlier-diagnosed myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, dementia, cancer, stroke, or hypertension), low systolic blood pressure (BP) was associated with risk of death.
Low systolic BP may be partially related to poor general health and poor vitality, but the very old may represent a select group of individuals, and the use of BP-lowering medications needs to be evaluated in this group.