Contact: Heather Woolwine
March 28, 2014
CHARLESTON – Stroke survivors who consistently control their blood pressure may reduce the likelihood of a second stroke by more than half, according to new research in the American Heart Association journal Stroke.
Study authors, including Bruce Ovbiagele, M.D., MUSC Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery chairman and professor, found that among individuals with elevated blood pressure at baseline (systolic blood pressure over 153 mm Hg), second stroke risk was reduced by 54 percent among participants who kept their blood pressure under control more than 75 percent of the time, compared with those who kept it under control less than 25 percent of the time. Unfortunately, fewer than 30 percent of participants maintained consistent blood pressure control more than 75 percent of the time.
“Over time, a patient may average a blood pressure that falls within normal, but this study suggests that providers and patients should also factor in the proportion of time (or visits) in which that patient’s blood pressure stays within control versus not,” Ovbiagele said. “Since South Carolina has one of the highest stroke rates in the nation, and many strokes are readily preventable through good blood pressure management, targeting the maintenance of blood pressure control consistently over time following a stroke could be a helpful way to lessen the personal and public burden of stroke in our state.”