Giving stroke patients hypertension medication not helpful

Feb. 24, 2014 at 11:59 PM
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CHICAGO, Feb. 24 (UPI) -- Giving stroke patients hypertension medication in the first 48 hours after a stroke does not reduce the likelihood of death or disability, U.S. researchers say.

Stroke specialist Dr. Jose Biller, chairman of the Department of Neurology of Loyola University Medical Center, said the study involved more than 4,000 stroke patients in 26 hospitals across China, who were randomly assigned to receive blood pressure medications or to discontinue blood pressure medications.

At 14 days or hospital discharge, there were no statistically significant differences between the groups in mortality or disability.

Blood pressure often is elevated following a stroke, Biller said.

"But in most cases, treatment is unnecessary because the blood pressure declines naturally over time, and lowering blood pressure may be contraindicated," Biller said in a statement.

"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."

The study, the China Anti-hypertensive Trial in Acute Ischemic Stroke, involved patients who had suffered ischemic strokes, which account for about 85 percent of all strokes. Such strokes are caused by blood clots that block blood flow to a part of the brain.

The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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