Blood Pressure Reduction and Secondary Stroke Prevention: A Systematic Review and Metaregression Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials

Hypertension. 2017 Jan;69(1):171-179. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.116.08485. Epub 2016 Oct 31.


Current recommendations do not specifically address the optimal blood pressure (BP) reduction for secondary stroke prevention in patients with previous cerebrovascular events. We conducted a systematic review and metaregression analysis on the association of BP reduction with recurrent stroke and cardiovascular events using data from randomized controlled clinical trials of secondary stroke prevention. For all reported events during each eligible study period, we calculated the corresponding risk ratios to express the comparison of event occurrence risk between patients randomized to antihypertensive treatment and those randomized to placebo. On the basis of the reported BP values, we performed univariate metaregression analyses according to the achieved BP values under the random-effects model (Method of Moments) for those adverse events reported in ≥10 total subgroups of included randomized controlled clinical trials. In pairwise meta-analyses, antihypertensive treatment lowered the risk for recurrent stroke (risk ratio, 0.73; 95% confidence interval, 0.62-0.87; P<0.001), disabling or fatal stroke (risk ratio, 0.71; 95% confidence interval, 0.59-0.85; P<0.001), and cardiovascular death (risk ratio, 0.85; 95% confidence interval, 0.75-0.96; P=0.01). In metaregression analyses, systolic BP reduction was linearly related to the lower risk of recurrent stroke (P=0.049), myocardial infarction (P=0.024), death from any cause (P=0.001), and cardiovascular death (P<0.001). Similarly, diastolic BP reduction was linearly related to a lower risk of recurrent stroke (P=0.026) and all-cause mortality (P=0.009). Funnel plot inspection and Egger statistical test revealed no evidence of publication bias. The extent of BP reduction is linearly associated with the magnitude of risk reduction in recurrent cerebrovascular and cardiovascular events. Strict and aggressive BP control seems to be essential for effective secondary stroke prevention.

Keywords: antihypertensive agents; blood pressure; meta-analysis; regression analysis; stroke.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / complications
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Hypertension / therapy*
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic*
  • Risk Reduction Behavior*
  • Secondary Prevention / methods*
  • Stroke / etiology
  • Stroke / prevention & control*


  • Hypoglycemic Agents