Background: The optimal blood pressure target in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) is unclear.
Purpose: To summarize trials comparing lower versus higher blood pressure targets in adult patients with CKD and focus on proteinuria as an effect modifier.
Data Sources: MEDLINE and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (July 2001 through January 2011) were searched for reports from randomized, controlled trials with no language restriction.
Study Selection: Authors screened abstracts to identify reports from trials comparing blood pressure targets in adults with CKD that had more than 50 participants per group; at least 1-year follow-up; and outcomes of death, kidney failure, cardiovascular events, change in kidney function, number of antihypertensive agents, and adverse events.
Data Extraction: Reviewers extracted data on study design, methods, sample characteristics, interventions, comparators, outcomes, number of medications, and adverse events and rated study quality and quality of analyses for proteinuria subgroups.
Data Synthesis: Three trials with a total of 2272 participants were included. Overall, trials did not show that a blood pressure target of less than 125/75 to 130/80 mm Hg is more beneficial than a target of less than 140/90 mm Hg. Lower-quality evidence suggests that a low target may be beneficial in subgroups with proteinuria greater than 300 to 1000 mg/d. Participants in the low target groups needed more antihypertensive medications and had a slightly higher rate of adverse events.
Limitations: No study included patients with diabetes. Trial duration may have been too short to detect differences in clinically important outcomes, such as death and kidney failure. Ascertainment and reporting of adverse events was not uniform.
Conclusion: Available evidence is inconclusive but does not prove that a blood pressure target of less than 130/80 mm Hg improves clinical outcomes more than a target of less than 140/90 mm Hg in adults with CKD. Whether a lower target benefits patients with proteinuria greater than 300 to 1000 mg/d requires further study.
Primary Funding Source: Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes (KDIGO).