Left ventricular conduction disease may be preventable with intensive blood pressure control

Image of a woman getting her blood pressure checked by a doctor

Cardiac ventricular conduction disorders, also known as heart blocks, present as a problem with the heart’s electrical system which controls rate and rhythm. A specific type, known as left or right bundle branch blocks, occurs when the electrical signals travel more slowly in one side of the heart than the other. A permanent pacemaker is the only known treatment available and there are not yet any proven preventative strategies for this condition.  

Researchers leveraged an ad hoc analysis of the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT) Study in which individuals with hypertension were randomly assigned to either more or less intensive blood pressure (BP) control. They found that intensive BP control – targeting less than 120 mm Hg – is associated with lower risk of left ventricular conduction disease compared with standard blood pressure control targeting less than 140 mm Hg, suggesting a new option for disease prevention.  

By contrast, the researchers saw no differences in right ventricular conduction disease. The right side of the heart is not directly affected by BP control and therefore, right bundle branch blocks are not associated with the same severe outcomes as left bundle branch blocks. 

The study, funded by the NHLBI, appeared in JAMA Cardiology