Variability in blood pressure after a stroke may increase death risk. The latest research findings looked closely at varying blood pressure numbers after a stroke and their impact on death risk.
The researchers looked at data from 1,947 patients who had four to five blood pressure readings within 24 hours after a stroke. After adjusting for other factors, the researchers found that more variations in systolic blood pressure were associated with a higher risk of death within 90 days.
Study lead author Dr. Adam de Havenon explained, “It’s a fertile topic that’s gaining attention, and I would argue that we need to pay even more attention to it.”
Dr. Havenon explained that varying blood pressure can be easily treated using calcium channel blockers. He also suggests that patients should keep a record of their blood pressure at home throughout the day to note any variabilities that may need to be discussed with their doctor.
He added, “That way, you get a sense of which patients have a rock-solid blood pressure that’s well-controlled by medication, and which patients have blood pressure that’s jumping around during the course of the day. That information is helpful, because you can change medications one in the morning, another medicine at night.”
Additional research on the topic is required to determine if patients should be prescribed medications to prevent blood pressure variability. Also, the mechanisms of the link require further investigation. For example, is having a stroke the cause of blood pressure variability, or does blood pressure variability influence the risk of death post stroke?
Dr. Paul Muntner, who was not involved in the study, concluded, “As we utilize technology more and more, we’ll be able to get a better long-term picture of a person’s risk based on their blood pressure over a period of 24 hours or several months, and that’s going to really help us personalize risk and treatment.”
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