Blood Pressure 1 Year after Stroke: The Need to Optimize Secondary Prevention

Clinical Research Center, Hvidovre Hospital, 2650 Hvidovre, Denmark.
Journal of stroke and cerebrovascular diseases: the official journal of National Stroke Association (Impact Factor: 1.67). 01/2011; 20(1):16-23. DOI: 10.1016/j.jstrokecerebrovasdis.2009.10.002
Source: PubMed


Lowering blood pressure (BP) in stroke survivors reduces the risk of recurrent stroke. We tested the hypothesis that a nurse-led nonpharmacologic intervention would lower the BP of participants in an intervention group compared with a control group. A total of 349 patients who had sustained acute stroke or transient ischemic attack were randomly assigned to either usual care or to 4 home visits by a nurse. During the visits, the nurse measured and recorded BP and provided individually tailored counseling on a healthy lifestyle. A total of 303 patients completed the 1-year follow up. No change in systolic BP was noted in either the intervention group or the control group. Because of an increase in diastolic BP in the control group (P = .03), a difference in mean diastolic BP between the 2 groups was found at follow-up (P = .007). Mean BP at follow-up was 139/82 mm Hg in the intervention group and 142/86 mm Hg in the control group. Linear regression analysis demonstrated that BP at the point of discharge was the strongest predictor of BP 1 year later (P < .0001). The proportion of patients on antihypertensive medication increased in the intervention group (P = .002). Patients were compliant with antihypertensive therapy, and 92% of the hypertensive patients in the intervention group followed the advice to see a general practitioner (GP) for BP checkups. At follow-up, 187 patients (62%) were hypertensive, with no difference in the rate of hypertension seen between the groups. Our data indicate that home visits by nurses did not result in a lowering of BP. Patients complied with antihypertensive therapy and GP visits in the case of hypertension. Nonetheless, the majority of patients were hypertensive at the 1-year follow up.

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    • "Control groups were described as receiving “usual care” in 4 of 7 studies. In the other studies, control care included generic risk factor advice once from a stroke nurse specialist,18 health education from a neurologist,17 and advice on healthy lifestyle choices from the multidisciplinary stroke team.19 "
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