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Standard blood pressure target sufficient for treating some strokes

Standard blood pressure target sufficient for treating some strokes
14th June 2016

For some types of stroke, it's just as effective to have standard blood pressure treatments as it is to receive intensive ones, according to a new study.

The international research, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that both treatments were equally effective in controlling strokes caused by bleeding into the brain.

This is a significant finding as expert opinion has been divided on which method performs better for patients suffering this type of stroke.

Dr Adnan I. Qureshi, professor of Neurology at the University of Minnesota's Zeenat Qureshi Stroke Research Center, and principal investigator of the study, said the results will help patients and doctors make better decisions about treatment.

Strokes are a considerable health problem around the world, with 110,000 people suffering this traumatic event each year in England alone. It is the third largest cause of death, after heart disease and cancer.

The level of brain damage incurred during a stroke is one of the leading causes of adult disability in the UK. Preventing strokes or improving treatment could help reduce healthcare costs and also boost the quality of life for thousands of patients each year.

Around ten per cent of strokes are caused by bleeding on the brain and they are linked to higher rates of disability and death than other forms. Chronic high blood pressure is the greatest risk factor for them, as it is thought to contribute to the bleeding that eventually results in a stroke.

Although some studies have suggested that rapid, intensive blood pressure lowering could yield better results, the ideal target to reduce blood pressure to prevent this type of stroke has not been established.

In the study, 1,000 participants from six different countries with elevated blood pressure after a stroke were given either standard or intensive blood pressure treatments.

According to brain scans, there was no difference in the rates of hemorrhage growth between the two groups.

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