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Whittle J, Schapira MM, Fletcher KE, Hayes A, Morzinski J, Laud P, Eastwood D, Ertl K, Patterson L, Mosack KE. A randomized trial of peer-delivered self-management support for hypertension. American journal of hypertension. 2014 Nov 1; 27(11):1416-23.
BACKGROUND: Peer-led interventions to improve chronic disease self-management can improve health outcomes but are not widely used. Therefore, we tested a peer-led hypertension self-management intervention delivered at regular meetings of community veterans' organizations. METHODS: We randomized 58 organizational units ("posts") of veterans' organizations in southeast Wisconsin to peer-led vs. professionally delivered self-management education. Volunteer peer leaders at peer-led posts delivered monthly presentations regarding hypertension self-management during regular post meetings. Volunteer post representatives at seminar posts encouraged post members to attend 3 didactic seminars delivered by health professionals at a time separate from the post meeting. Volunteers in both groups encouraged members to self-monitor using blood pressure cuffs, weight scales, and pedometers. Our primary outcome was change in systolic blood pressure (SBP) at 12 months. RESULTS: We measured SBP in 404 participants at baseline and in 379 participants at 12 months. SBP decreased significantly (4.4mm Hg; P < 0.0001) overall; the decrease was similar in peer-led and seminar posts (3.5mm Hg vs. 5.4mm Hg; P = 0.24). Among participants with uncontrolled BP at baseline, SBP decreased by 10.1mm Hg from baseline to 12 months but was again similar in the 2 groups. This pattern was also seen at 6 months and with diastolic blood pressure. CONCLUSIONS: Our peer-led educational intervention was not more effective than didactic seminars for SBP control. Although peer-led educational programs have had important impacts in a number of studies, we did not find our intervention superior to a similar intervention delivered by healthcare professionals. CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00571038.