Lowering blood pressure may decrease stroke-related brain bleeding

By Tauren Dyson

May 15 (UPI) -- Spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage has a 40 percent mortality rate, but researchers say lowering blood pressure could benefit these patients.

Intensive blood pressure treatment may reduce the amount of deep brain bleeding in people suffering this type of stroke, according to a study published Monday in JAMA Neurology.


The researchers caution, however, that while the new study shows lowering blood pressure can reduce the amount of brain bleeding following a stroke, their results didn't show improved outcomes among patients.

"This analysis demonstrates biological proof-of-concept of intensive blood pressure reduction as a therapy for intracerebral hemorrhage," Audrey Leasure, a researcher at Yale School of Medicine and study lead author, said in a news release.

While blood pressure reduction did lead to less bleeding, it didn't change the clinical outcomes overall in the patients.

"Intensive blood pressure reduction was associated with a decreased risk of hematoma expansion, an important neuroimaging market of primary brain injury, in patients with intracerebral hemorrhage that compromises the basal ganglia," the authors wrote. "However, intensive blood pressure reduction was not associated with improved outcomes."

In the past, researchers have attempted varied methods for treating the problem. One study showed that drilling a hole in a patient's skull could alleviate the pressure from the blood that pools in the brain after a stroke. While that work showed promise, many other attempts to reduce the death risk associated with brain bleeding failed.


"Whether this reduction in hematoma expansion can translate into clinical benefit warrants further study," the authors wrote.

Future research, Leasure said, should look at a larger subset of patients with damage to the same areas of the brain, and that the brain location of hemorrhages should be incorporated into future studies to further understand the effect of lowering blood pressure in stroke patients.

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