, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 3-7

Safety of induced hypertension therapy in patients with acute ischemic stroke

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Abstract

Introduction

The management of blood pressure in acute stroke is controversial. Small pilot studies have suggested that blood pressure augmentation improves short-term neurological function, but the rate of adverse events with induced hypertension (IH) therapy is unknown.

Methods and Results

We reviewed 100 consecutive patients who underwent perfusion magnetic resonance imaging for acute ischemic stroke. IH therapy was employed in 46 patients and standard therapy (ST) in 54. The two groups had similar baseline characteristics, but more patients in the IH group had significant large-artery stenoses. The IH group achieved significantly higher mean arterial pressure (MAP) than the ST group within 3 days of initiation of therapy with a variety of vasopressor agents. Only 35% of patients in the IH group actually achieved the target MAP augmentation of 10–20% above baseline, however. All patients survived to discharge. Four patients experienced major adverse events in each group. Two patients in the IH group experienced intracerebral hemorrhage compared to none in the ST group. Two patients in the ST group experienced myocardial ischemia, compared to none in the IH group. The National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale during the hospitalization and place of discharge were similar in both groups. Patients in the IH group were more likely to be admitted to the intensive care unit and had a longer hospital stay by nearly 4 days compared to the ST group.

Conclusion

These data demonstrate the relative safety of IH therapy in acute stroke patients. Given the greater use of resources, however, the role of IH in improving clinical outcomes requires a prospective, randomized trial.