A transient elevated arterial blood pressure is common in acute ischemic stroke and is often associated with a poor prognosis. The underlying mechanisms of blood pressure elevation are not well understood and its management is still unresolved. This article focuses on pathophysiology and management of elevated blood pressure in acute ischemic stroke. There is evidence that the main causes of a transient blood pressure elevation in acute ischemic stroke are the focal cerebral hypoperfusion and the stress responses with neuroendocrine systems activation. Clinical trials have reported that blood pressure lowering in acute ischemic stroke may have detrimental effect, probably because of impaired cerebral autoregulation. However, quantitative assessment of cerebral perfusion has not been performed during emergency blood pressure reduction in acute ischemic stroke. We suggest that ultrasound carotid artery disease evaluation and cerebral hemodynamics monitoring using bilateral transcranial ultrasonography, during blood pressure management in acute ischemic stroke might contribute to maintaining of an adequate penumbral perfusion and prevent infarct enlargement. Such an approach could individualize the antihypertensive treatment in acute ischemic stroke and improve functional outcome. Prospective studies are needed to confirm such a treatment strategy.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.