Experts predict a 33% drop in stroke deaths in the US
New US blood pressure guidelines are forecast to be a game-changer for stroke survivors, say experts.
Last year, US hypertension guidelines were revised, with the threshold lowered from 140/90mmHg to 130/80mmHg.
Researchers have now examined the impact of this on stroke survivors and the results suggest the new regime could cut deaths by 33%.
“The potential to reduce mortality and recurrent stroke is immense,” says Dr Alain Lekoubou, lead author and clinical lecturer in neurology at the Medical University of South Carolina.
Antihypertensives are now recommended for all stroke survivors with readings of 130/80mmHg or higher.
Dr Lekoubou and his team used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys to estimate the nationwide impact of applying that approach.
If clinicians fully shifted from the previous guidelines to the new ones, the researchers calculate the impact on stroke would be:
- A 66.7% increase in the proportion of stroke survivors diagnosed with hypertension and recommended for antihypertensives (from 29.9% to 49.8%);
- A 53.9% increase in the proportion of stroke survivors already taking antihypertensives who would be prescribed additional medication to reach their target blood pressure (from 36.3% to 56%); and
- A 32.7% reduction in deaths, based on the difference in death rates in stroke survivors above and below the 130/80mmHg threshold (8.3% vs. 5.6%).
“It is our responsibility to ensure that stroke survivors identified with hypertension are treated more aggressively and to ensure that those on treatment remain on treatment,” Dr Lekoubou says.
You can access the study here