Lowering blood pressure following stroke may reduce damage

Armen Hareyan's picture

Stroke Care and Blood Pressure

A new University of Georgia study suggests that commonly prescribed drugs used to lower blood pressure may help reduce brain damage when given within 24 hours of a stroke.


The finding, based on a study using rats and published in the April issue of the Journal of Hypertension, may ultimately revolutionize emergency stroke care by putting blood pressure-lowering medications alongside clot-busting drugs and blood thinners as front-line medications.

"There is a long-standing controversy about whether you should even treat elevated blood pressure in stroke victims," said lead author Susan Fagan, professor of clinical and administrative pharmacy at the UGA College of Pharmacy and the Medical College of Georgia. "We were able to show that lowering blood pressure in the 24 hours following a stroke can reduce brain damage."

Fagan and her team induced strokes in rats by occluding a major artery in the brain. After three hours, the suture was removed to simulate the effect of thrombolytic, or clot-busting, drugs. The rats were then given one of two common blood pressure lowering drugs or