Trends of blood pressure control in the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic

Nishant P. Shah, Robert M. Clare, Karen Chiswell, Ann Marie Navar, Bimal R. Shah, Eric D. Peterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Importance: COVID-19 altered lifestyles and disrupted routine health care. Whether blood pressure (BP) control worsened during COVID-19 is unknown. Objective: To understand whether home BP control worsened during COVID-19 across the United States (US). Design, Setting, and Participants: A population-based analysis of home BP data from 72,706 participants enrolled in a digital health hypertension control program. Data was compared before (January 2019 to March 2020) and during (April 2020 to August 2020) COVID-19. Main Outcomes and Measures: Monthly mean home BP readings, systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), and mean arterial pressure (MAP) were quantified before and during the pandemic. Multivariable adjustments were made for age, sex, race, region, and months enrolled. Home BP readings were also classified based on monthly averages and highest home BP readings into risk groups: Stage 2 HTN: BP> = 135 or DBP> = 85; Uncontrolled HTN: SBP> = 145 or DBP> = 95; or Severely uncontrolled HTN: SBP> = 160 or DBP> = 100). Results: Overall, 72,706 participants were enrolled in a digital health hypertension program between 1/1/2019 and 8/31/2020. Compared with participants pre-COVID-19 (n = 33,440), those during COVID-19 (n = 39,266) were of similar age (mean 53.0 ± 10.7 years vs 53.3 ± 10.8 years); sex (46% vs 50.6% female) and race (29.1% vs 34.2% non-white). Relative to pre-Covid (Apr-Aug 2019) the mean monthly number of home BP readings rose during COVID-19 (Apr-Aug, 2020), from 7.3 to 9.3 per month (P < .001). During COVID-19, participants had higher monthly adjusted mean SBP (131.6 mmHg vs. 127.5 mmHg, P < .001); DBP (80.2 mmHg vs. 79.2 mmHg, P < .001); and MAP (97.4 mmHg vs. 95.3 mmHg; P < .001). Relative to the pre-pandemic period, during COVID-19 the proportion of participants with a mean monthly BP classified as uncontrolled or severely uncontrolled hypertension also rose, 15% vs 19% and 4% vs 5%, respectively Conclusions and Relevance: Based on home BP readings, mean monthly BP rose modestly after COVID-19, despite increased utilization of home monitoring. Further studies are needed to examine the longitudinal effects of the pandemic on cardiovascular disease risk factors, the impact of these on long-term population health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-23
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican heart journal
StatePublished - May 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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