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Heart Health

Post-Stroke Blood Pressure Treatment Not Always Effective

Giving blood pressure lowering medications to patients who have suffered a stroke doesn’t reduce their likelihood of death or major disability, according to a new study.

The study was published inJAMA.

At least 25 percent of the population has high blood pressure, which greatly increases the risk of stroke. Lowering blood pressure has been shown to reduce the risk of stroke.

The study, which included more than 4,000 stroke patients in 26 hospitals in China, found no difference in terms of death or disability between people who had been given medicines to lower blood pressure post-stroke and those who had not. The medicines were given within 48 hours of the stroke.

Blood pressure often is elevated following a stroke.

“But in most cases, treatment is unnecessary because the blood pressure declines naturally over time, and lowering blood pressure may be contraindicated,” said stroke specialist José Biller, MD, chair of the Department of Neurology of Loyola University Medical Center. “It is important not to overtreat and cause low blood pressure because the most important objective is to maintain adequate blood flow to the brain."

 

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