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Mindfulness programme contributes to office blood pressure lowering

Presented by
Prof. Eric Loucks , Brown University, RI, USA
AHA 2022
Phase 2, MB-BP
A customised mindfulness programme may be a valuable supplemental non-pharmaceutical way to achieve blood pressure (BP) control in hypertensive patients. After 6 months, participants in the mindfulness programme displayed significantly lower systolic BP compared with controls.

According to Prof. Eric Loucks (Brown University, RI, USA), mindfulness may support patients to adhere to lifestyle measures that achieve BP control such as physical activity, dietary changes, reduced alcohol consumption, medication adherence and weight loss.

The parallel-group, phase 2, randomised clinical trial MB-BP (NCT03256890) trained participants in skills such as attention control, self-awareness and emotion regulation, and then applied that training to health behaviour changes suitable to improve BP control [1]. The researchers compared enhanced standard care (e.g. a home blood pressure monitor, BP education material, facilitated access to a physician if needed) with the participation in an 8-week mindfulness-based programme, customised for people with elevated BP.

All 200 adult participants were recruited from the Providence, Rhode Island area and had elevated/high BP (>120 mmHg systolic or >80 mmHg diastolic BP). In total, 81% of the participants were White adults and 73% had a college education. Participants were randomised 1:1 to the mindfulness programme or the enhanced standard care group. Participants in the MB-BP group went to a group orientation session, eight 2.5-hour weekly group sessions and one 7.5-hour, one-day group retreat. Recommended home mindfulness practice was at least 45 minutes a day, six days a week.

At 6 months, participants in the mindfulness group displayed a reduction in mean systolic BP of 5.9 mmHg (95% CI -9.1– -2.8; P<0.001), compared with a 1.4 mmHg reduction in systolic BP in the enhanced usual care group in pre-specified unadjusted analyses. In a posthoc analysis that adjusted for the BP and sex strata that participants were randomised within, there was a between-group difference of 4.3 mmHg (95% CI -8.7–0.1) at 6 months follow-up. There were no notable changes in diastolic BP for either group. Participants in the mindfulness group also reduced their sedentary sitting behaviour by an average of 351 minutes each week, were more likely to eat heart-healthy food and reported improved perceived stress and mindfulness levels compared with the participants in the enhanced standard care group, possibly contributing to the BP lowering effect of mindfulness.

Importantly, most participants were college-educated White adults, which limits its generalisability to people from diverse racial and ethnic groups or to those who have other education levels. “I would like to see a replication of this work by external groups with longer follow up, and more generalised participants,” Prof. Loucks concluded.

    1. Loucks EB, et al. The effect of adapted mindfulness training in participants with elevated office blood pressure: the mindfulness-based blood pressure reduction (MB-BP) randomized clinical trial. LBS.04, AHA Scientific Sessions 2022, 05–07 November, Chicago, USA.


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