OBJECTIVES: To investigate legacy effects at 14-year follow-up of all-cause and cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality in 'treatment-naive' or 'previous treatment' groups based on blood pressure (BP)-lowering treatment status at baseline.
METHODS: A post-hoc observational study of the Antihypertensive and Lipid-Lowering Treatment to Prevent Heart Attack Trial. We excluded participants with a previous history of CVD events. Cox proportional hazard model and 95% confidence interval were used to estimate the effects of treatment naive on mortality outcomes. Moreover, a subgroup analysis by estimated 10-year Framingham risk score was performed.
RESULTS: In multivariable models adjusting for baseline and in-trial characteristics (BP values and number of BP medications as time-dependent variables), there was no statistically significant difference in 5 and 14-year all-cause mortality with a hazard ratio of 0.93 (95% confidence interval 0.80-1.09) and hazard ratio 0.95 (0.88-1.03) and in 5 and 14-year CVD mortality hazard ratio 0.94 (0.72-1.23) and hazard ratio 0.93 (0.80-1.08). In subgroup by absolute CVD risk, no heterogeneity of the association between treatment naive and short-term or long-term all-cause or CVD mortality were found. All comparisons are between the treatment-naive and previous treatment groups.
CONCLUSION: Physicians are concerned about 'legacy effects' of not treating individuals with a BP of 140 mmHg or over and low absolute risk. When treatment intensification was taken into consideration in the primary prevention population in this study, no adverse legacy effect as a result of baseline BP 'treatment naivety' was evident in 14 years of follow-up. The nonsignificant associations were consistent across the CVD risk subgroups. However, the results may be biased due to unobserved residual confounding and therefore should be interpreted with caution.