Twenty weeks of isometric handgrip home training to lower blood pressure in hypertensive older adults: a study protocol for a randomized controlled trial



Abstract Background Hypertension markedly increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases and overall mortality. Lifestyle modifications, such as increased levels of physical activity, are recommended as the first line of anti-hypertensive treatment. A recent systematic review showed that isometric handgrip (IHG) training was superior to traditional endurance and strength training in lowering resting systolic blood pressure (SBP). The average length of previous IHG training studies is approximately 7.5 weeks with the longest being 10 weeks. Therefore, presently it is unknown if it is possible to further lower blood pressure levels beyond the 10-week mark. Recently, we developed a novel method for monitoring handgrip intensity using a standard Nintendo Wii Board (Wii). The primary aim of this study is to explore the effects of a 20-week IHG home training facilitated by a Wii in hypertensive older adults (50 + years of age) on lowering SBP compared to usual care. Secondary aims are to explore if/when a leveling-off effect on SBP will occur during the 20-week intervention period in the training group and to explore adherence and potential harms related to the IHG home training. Methods/design Based on previous evidence, we calculated that 50 hypertensive (SBP between 140 and 179 mmHg), older adults (50 + years of age) are needed to achieve a power of 80% or more. Participants will be randomly assigned to either an intervention >group (IHG home training + hypertension guidelines on lifestyle changes) or to a control group (hypertension guidelines on lifestyle changes). Participants in the intervention group will perform IHG home training (30% of maximum grip strength for a total of 8 min per day per hand) three times a week for 20 weeks. Resting blood pressure and maximal handgrip strength will be obtained by a blinded outcome assessor in both groups at specific time points (baseline, follow-up at 5, 10, 15, and 20 weeks) throughout the study. Discussion This assessor-blinded, randomized controlled trial will explore the effect of a 20-week IHG home training intervention on resting blood pressure in hypertensive older adults. In addition, the trial will report adherence and potential harms related to the IHG home training. Trial registration, ID: NCT03069443 . Registered on 3 March 2017.
Date made available2018

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