Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Contribution of inappropriate treatment for hypertension to pathogenesis of stroke in the elderly.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986; 293 doi: (Published 11 October 1986) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986;293:914
  1. P A Jansen,
  2. F W Gribnau,
  3. B P Schulte,
  4. E F Poels


    One hundred and seventy eight patients admitted to hospital with acute cerebral infarction or transient ischaemic attack were studied to determine if their treatment had been changed during the previous three weeks and to compare their blood pressure after the stroke with premorbid values. Blood pressure measurements taken within one year before the stroke were available for 100 patients; seven of these had had a recent change in antihypertensive or diuretic treatment. Of these, three patients who had started taking frusemide because of hypertension and one whose dosage of a reserpine combination drug had been increased experienced an appreciable decrease in blood pressure immediately after the stroke; they also showed signs of haemoconcentration. The change in treatment probably contributed to the stroke in these four patients. The other three showed a smaller decrease or even an increase in blood pressure and no signs of haemoconcentration; the relation between the change in treatment and stroke is less likely in these patients. The use of high ceiling diuretics such as frusemide in the treatment of hypertension may induce hypovolaemia and hypotension, resulting in cerebral ischaemia, and are therefore best avoided in such treatment.