2017 ACC/AHA hypertension guidelines could cut stroke patient deaths by 33%

Deaths from stroke may be cut 33 percent by patients maintaining 2017 American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) hypertension guidelines of 130/80 mmHg, compared to the 2014 guidelines, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

The study comes after earlier research conducted by Jiang He and colleagues who determined the 2017 hypertension guidelines could save up to 300,000 lives every year.

“Hypertension is strongly associated with stroke,” wrote lead author Alain Lekoubou, MD, MS, of the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, and colleagues. “It also carries a high mortality among patients with stroke and arguable has a stronger association with stroke than any other symptomatic vascular disease entity. It is fortunately amenable to interventions including pharmacological treatments.”

Researchers utilized data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) to assess the nationwide impact of applying the 2017 guidelines to stroke patients. Stroke diagnosis was self-reported—a limitation reported by the authors.

The study found there would be a 67 percent increase in stroke survivors diagnosed with hypertension, who would also be recommended for antihypertensive medication.

There would be a 54 percent increase in the proportion of stroke survivors already taking antihypertensive medications, who would be prescribed additional medications to meet their target blood pressure measurements.

The authors noted there would be a 33 percent reduction in deaths, provided stroke patients meet and maintain target blood pressure measurements.

“In conclusion, our findings suggest that implementing the ACC/AHA hypertension guidelines will result in significant increase in the proportion of stroke survivors with hypertension, recommended pharmacological treatment and above blood pressure target,” wrote Lekoubou and colleagues. “Our results call for preemptive actions to successfully implement the new guidelines in stroke survivors.”