systolic or diastolic blood pressure ( BP )

Last reviewed 01/2018

  • in practice systolic blood pressure should be regarded as more important than diastolic blood pressure (1)

  • however, in general, there is a high correlation between systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Also both have been shown to be important risk factors for cardiovascular disease (2)

  • outcome trials of antihypertensive therapy based on thresholds of systolic (3) and diastolic blood pressure (4) have shown similar reductions in cardiovascular events


  • (1) British Hypertension Society guidelines for hypertension management 1999: summary. BMJ (1999), 319, 630-35.
  • (2) Stamler J, Stamler R, Neaton JD (1993). Blood pressure, systolic and diastolic and cardiovascular risks. US population data. Arch Intern Med, 153, 598-615.
  • (3) SHEP Cooperative Research Group (1991). Prevention of stroke by antihypertensive drug treatment in older persons with isolated systolic hypertension. Final results of the Systolic Hypertension in the Elderly Program (SHEP). JAMA, 265, 3255-3264.
  • (4) Gueyffier F et al. Effect of antihypertensive drug treatment on cardiovascular outcomes in women and men. A meta-analysis of individual patient data from randomised controlled trials. Ann Intern Med, 126, 761-67.