The management of blood pressure after stroke

Robert J. Wityk

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Control of hypertension is a well-established goal of primary prevention of stroke, but management of blood pressure in patients with a previous stroke or in the setting of acute stroke is complicated by the effect blood pressure changes may have on cerebral perfusion. REVIEW SUMMARY: For patients with previous transient ischemic attack or chronic stroke, blood pressure reduction appears to be a safe and important facet of the secondary prevention of recurrent stroke. Less information is available concerning blood pressure management in acute stroke. Current protocols require strict blood pressure control in patients who are treated with thrombolytic therapy, to reduce the risk of hemorrhagic complications. In patients presenting with acute intracerebral hemorrhage, blood pressure reduction does not appear to cause significant reduction of cerebral blood flow, but at this time there are no studies to determine if there is a clinical benefit of acute blood pressure reduction in these patients. Finally, blood pressure reduction is not routinely recommended in patients with acute ischemic stroke, as it may precipitate further cerebral ischemia. Preliminary studies suggest, in fact, that there may be a role in the future for blood pressure elevation in the treatment of patients with acute ischemic stroke. CONCLUSIONS: Current data support the use of blood pressure reduction in the secondary prevention of stroke in patients with cerebrovascular disease. In the setting of acute stroke, however, data are limited and blood pressure management must be tailored to the specific clinical situation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-181
Number of pages11
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2007


  • Blood pressure
  • Cerebral blood flow
  • Intracerebral hemorrhage
  • Prevention
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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