Diastolic dysfunction may precede development of heart failure in hypertensive patients. We randomized 228 patients with uncontrolled hypertension, preserved ejection fraction, and diastolic dysfunction to 2 targeted treatment strategies: intensive, with a systolic blood pressure target of <130 mm Hg, or standard, with a systolic blood pressure target of <140 mm Hg, using a combination of valsartan, either 160 or 320 mg, plus amlodipine, either 5 or 10 mg, with other antihypertensive medications as needed. Echocardiographic assessment of diastolic function was performed at baseline and after 24 weeks in a prospective, open-label, blinded end point design. Blood pressure was reduced significantly in both groups, from 161.2±13.9/90. 1±12.0 to 130.8±12.3/74.9±9.1 mm Hg (P<0.0001) in the intensive arm and from 162.1±13.2/93.7±12.2 to 137.0±12.9/79.6±11.0 mm Hg (P<0.0001) in the standard arm (P<0.003 for between-group comparisons). Myocardial relaxation velocity improved from 7.6±1.1 to 9.2±1.7 cm/s (Δ 1.54±1.4 cm/s; P<0.0001) in the intensive arm and from 7.5±1.3 to 9.0±1.9 cm/s (Δ 1.48±1.6 cm/s; P<0.0001) in the standard arm, with no difference between the 2 strategies in the achieved improvement (P=0.58). The degree of improvement in annular relaxation velocity was associated with the extent of systolic blood pressure reduction, and patients with the lowest achieved systolic blood pressure had the highest final diastolic relaxation velocities. © 2010 American Heart Association. All rights reserved.