Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
December 23, 2021
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Meditation may reduce systolic BP in Black patients with high-normal BP

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
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Transcendental meditation may be a useful intervention for lowering systolic BP in Black patients with high-normal BP, according to study data published in American Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

“Black adults in the United States suffer from disproportionately high mortality compared to whites. The largest contributor to this disparity is cardiovascular disease,” Robert H. Schneider, MD, FACC, director of the NIH-funded Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention and professor of physiology and health at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, and colleagues wrote. “Despite overall decline in CVD mortality in the general population in recent decades, Black adults continue to have the highest total burden of CVD from CHD, cerebrovascular disease and heart failure compared to other racial/ethnic groups.

“In consideration of the substantial and persistent disparities in hypertension, CVD and related comorbidities such as COVID-19 in Black adults, which are associated with social determinants of health and psychosocial stress, this randomized controlled trial compared the long-term effects of stress reduction with meditation to health education control in Black men and women with high normal and normal blood pressure,” Schneider and colleagues wrote.

In a randomized controlled, single-blind trial, researchers included 304 Black participants aged 21 to 75 years with high-normal BP (defined as 130-139/85-89 mm Hg) or normal BP (defined as 120-129/80-84 mm Hg). Participants were randomly assigned to transcendental meditation (TM) or health education (HE) groups and had their BP recorded at 3, 6, 9, 12, 24, 30 and 36 months after baseline. Researchers used linear mixed model analysis to compare changes in BP between TM and HE participants in the high-normal and normal BP groups and conducted survival analysis for hypertensive events.

After an average of 19.9 months follow-up, high-normal BP participants in the TM group showed lower posttest systolic BP (3.2 mm Hg; P = .045) but not diastolic BP (0.9 mm Hg; P = .53) compared with high-normal BP participants in the HE group.

Among participants with normal BP, there was no difference found in systolic and diastolic BP between the TM and HE groups.

Hypertensive events occurred in 12.7% of the TM group and 22.8% of the HE group. In those with high-normal BP, there was a trend toward benefit for hypertensive events in the TM group (HR = 0.523; 95% CI, 0.208-1.1313; P = .15), but in those with normal BP, there was no difference in hypertensive events between the TM and HE groups.

“The results of this trial suggest the efficacy of the TM technique in reducing systolic BP in patients with high-normal BP, for whom pharmacotherapy may not be indicated, but who nevertheless are at elevated risk for CVD,” the researchers concluded. “Meditation may be a clinically useful lifestyle modification for reducing high blood pressure, CVD and associated comorbidities in high-risk Black populations.”