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Study Finds Treating Hypertension After Stroke Has No Effect on Recovery

Update Date: Nov 18, 2013 01:22 PM EST

A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain stops due to a blood clot or a broken blood vessel. Once blood flow stops entering the brain, brain cells will start to die, which is why it is extremely important for stroke patients to receive care. When patients get treated immediately, usually with blood thinners, their survival rates can improve. In a new study, researchers examined the effects of treating stroke patient's hypertension. They found that treating high blood pressure immediately after a stroke had no effect on the patient's recovery.

For this clinical trial, the researchers from China Antihypertensive Trial in Acute Ischemic Stroke (CATIS) Trial examined 4,071 stroke patients. These patients suffered stroke due to a blood clot and had high blood pressure. Half of the patients were randomly assigned to be treated with blood pressure-lowering medications. The other half had to stop using their antihypertensive medications within 48 hours of their stroke. All of the patients received standard stroke medical care.

The researchers assessed the patients' health within two weeks of the stroke or during the hospital discharge date. The team calculated that around 33.6 percent of the patients from both groups had died or had suffered a major disability. The team then followed up on the patients at three months since their stroke and found that the percentage had dropped to 25 percent for both groups.

"We were surprised that lowering blood pressure during this most acute phase of the stroke made no difference in patient outcomes," the study's lead author, Jiang He, M.D., Ph.D. said according to Medical Xpress. He is a professor of epidemiology and medicine at the Tulane University Health Science Center in New Orleans, LA. "Lowering blood pressure is known to prevent strokes. But in this study, we saw no difference by treating high blood pressure early after stroke."

The researchers stated that even though treating high blood pressure did not improve the stroke patient's recovery, people should still continue to lower their high blood pressure in order to reduce their risk of suffering from a stroke. The study was presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2013.

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