Analysis shows barbershops can be cost-effective way to reduce blood pressure in black men

Barber straps a blood pressure cuff onto the arm of a haircut customer at a Black barbershop.
Credit: Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Cent...

In 2018, researchers reported that a barbershop-based blood pressure control program significantly improved hypertension control among a group of black men in Los Angeles. This landmark study stimulated interest in widening the intervention to other areas of the country, but knowledge gaps regarding implementation and costs remained.  

In a new analysis of the study, researchers are now reporting that scaling up the barbershop-based program nationally can be a cost-effective way to control blood pressure in black men and could prevent nearly 40% of heart attacks and strokes among participants with hypertension.  

Black men are more likely than white men to suffer from hypertension, or uncontrolled high blood pressure, which can lead to heart attack and stroke as well as kidney damage. Yet, this group is less likely to seek preventive care from physicians. The barbershop-based blood pressure control program was initially designed to address this challenge by bringing healthcare to the patient. 

Using data from the Los Angeles Barbershop Blood Pressure Study, researchers used an established modelling tool to estimate clinical outcomes and measure the cost effectiveness of scaling up a barbershop-based, pharmacist-led blood pressure intervention program nationwide. The results showed that the program could be developed for reasonably low costs if scaled up nationally. What’s more: The program has the potential to reduce more than a third of cardiovascular events among black men with hypertension who participate in such barbershop interventions, the researchers estimated. 

The study, partly funded by the NHLBI, appeared in a research letter published in Circulation