Many Stroke Patients Not Treated for Hypertension

OCTOBER 01, 2005

A significant number of stroke patients are not receiving drug therapy to lower their blood pressure (BP) upon discharge from the hospital, even though it has been proven to help reduce the risk of another stroke. Researchers showed great inconsistency among hospitals in antihypertensive prescription rates for stroke patients. The report was published in a recent edition of Stroke.

Bruce Ovbiagele, MD, from the University of California at Los Angeles said that "there should be a concerted effort?to make sure that patients do not leave the hospital without being on at least one BP agent to reduce their risk for secondary stroke."

The study involved 764 patients who were treated at 11 California hospitals for a stroke or transient ischemic attack. About 30% of these patients did not receive a prescription for at least one antihypertensive drug. High BP, diabetes, and advanced age all increased the odds that a patient would receive a prescription for an antihypertensive agent upon discharge. Dr. Ovbiagele pointed out, however, that the short-term risk of secondary stroke is high, and "that makes it even more important to be sure that patients are put on proven therapies for preventing a recurrent event."