Uncontrolled blood pressure (BP) is an important modifiable risk factor for recurrent stroke. Secondary prevention measures when implemented can reduce stroke re-occurrence by 80%. However, hypertension control rates remain sub-optimal, and little data is available from primary care where most management occurs. The aim of this study was to describe BP control in primary care-based patients with a previous stroke or transient ischaemic attack (TIA) in Ireland, and to concurrently examine antihypertensive medication-dosing.
Study participants most recent office-based BP reading was compared with the NICE (NG136) and European Society of Hypertension/ European Society of Cardiology (ESH/ESC 2013) goal of BP < 140/90 mmHg. Optimal anti-hypertensive medication dosing was determined by benchmarking prescribed doses for each drug with the World Health Organisation-Defined Daily Dosing (WHO-DDD) recommendations.
We identified 328 patients with a previous stroke or TIA in 10 practices. Blood pressure was controlled in almost two thirds of patients when measured against the ESH/ESC and NICE guidelines (63.1%, n = 207). Of those with BP ≥140/90 (n = 116), just under half (n = 44, 47.3%) were adequately dosed in all anti-hypertensive medications when compared with the WHO-DDD recommendations.
Blood pressure control in patients post stroke/TIA appears sub-optimal in over one third of patients. A comparison of drug doses with WHO-DDD recommendations suggests that 47% of patients may benefit from drug-dose improvements. Further work is required to assess how best to manage blood pressure in patients with a previous stroke or TIA in Primary Care, as most consultations for hypertension take place in this setting.