The Mercury Challenge:
The largest hypertension study ever conducted in cats
The "Mercury Challenge” was the largest survey of blood pressure measurement ever conducted in cats!
Results were collected of more than 10,000 blood pressure measurements in cats over 7 years of age, across 20 different countries.
What is the Mercury Challenge?
The Mercury Challenge was a campaign run by Ceva, working with veterinary professionals to record the blood pressure of more than 10,000 cats over 7 years of age. This included nearly 4,000 cats from the United Kingdom, 1,500 cats from Spain, 1,300 cats from Italy, 1,200 cats from France and the Nordic countries and others from all around the world!
What were the results of the Mercury Challenge?
The Mercury Challenge was a huge undertaking and is, to date, the largest survey of blood pressure measurement ever conducted in cats, with some significant results.
Diagnosis of hypertension
Importantly, among these cats that were over 7 years of age, almost 40% were found to have hypertension (high blood pressure) - defined as a blood pressure of 160 mmHg or above. Over 1 in 5 of the cats had blood pressures of 180 mmHg or above which is classified as 'severe hypertension' with a high risk of damage to tissues.
Age is a factor
In this survey, the average age of cats with high blood pressure was found to be 13 years, and as in previous studies, the risk of hypertension increased as cats got older.
Hypertensive cats commonly suffer with other conditions
We know that in most cats, hypertension is secondary to another condition. The Mercury Challenge highlighted this further, as up to 1 in 3 hypertensive cats identified in the study were also already known to have chronic kidney disease (CKD).
Blood pressure measurement is not a stressful experience for cats
It is important to know that measuring a cat’s blood pressure is not an invasive procedure and is not painful or uncomfortable. When cats are given time to settle after arrival at the veterinary clinic, and when blood pressure measurements are made in a calm, quiet environment, cats really don’t mind the procedure. Reassuringly, the survey confirmed this, with only 1 in 10 cats being thought to show signs of overt nervousness during the procedure and with 9 out of 10 being calm or just showing mild signs of being anxious, but still being cooperative.
The Mercury Challenge was only possible thanks to the combined efforts of veterinarians, nurses, cat parents and cats around the world.
Hypertension is a common, severe condition that significantly impacts a cat’s quality of life. The participation of so many veterinary professionals was invaluable in allowing the early detection and management of the disease, and for that, we truly appreciate the support and collaborative efforts of all involved.
A second edition of the Mercury Challenge is currently on-going. If you are a vet or a nurse, go to mercurychallenge.ceva.com