One year later, barbershop intervention continues to lower blood pressure in black men

Black men participating in a blood pressure reduction program implemented in barbershops continued to have significant improvements in their blood pressure in a 12-month follow-up study, according to researchers.

In the study, 52 Los Angeles County barbershops were assigned to either a pharmacist-led intervention or an active control group. In the intervention group, barbers measured blood pressure and promoted follow-up with pharmacists who prescribed blood pressure medication under a collaborative practice agreement with study participants' primary care providers. In the control group, barbers measured blood pressure and promoted follow-up only with primary care providers and lifestyle modification.

At 12 months, the average systolic blood pressure fell by 28.6 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) to 123.8 mm Hg in the intervention group and by 7.2 mm Hg (to 147.4 mm Hg) in the control group. The average reduction was 20.8 mm Hg greater with the intervention. These results are indistinguishable from the previously reported 6-month data, the researchers reported. The results of their study appear in Circulation, a publication of the American Heart Association. The original 6-month study received widespread media coverage when it was announced in March 2018.

"The results of this study were very impressive, with sustained dramatic reductions in blood pressure in a population at high risk for hypertension and its complications," said Paula Einhorn, M.D., NHLBI program officer for the study. "The late Dr. Ron Victor, leader of the study and associate director of the Smidt Heart Institute of Cedars-Sinai, was very pleased with the results. He believed that barbershops represent a new model for managing high blood pressure in black men and set in motion the initial stages for implementing the model in communities around the country."