The greater the variation in blood pressure within the first week, the more likely the patient is to die or suffer major disability, says research leader Professor Craig Anderson of The George Institute and the University of Sydney.
The research, published in The Lancet medical journal, suggest it is important not only to rapidly and urgently reduce blood pressure in stroke patients, but also to ensure the blood pressure is smooth and sustained for several days.
“Blood pressure monitoring should be frequent throughout the patient’s stay in hospital,” said Prof Anderson.
He cautioned doctors against being “falsely reassured” by a few normal blood pressure readings among a wide fluctuations.
The research was important because it showed the role of fluctuating blood pressure in triggering a brain haemorrhage stroke, said Prof Anderson.
This meant current treatment methods should change.
Dr Erin Lalor, CEO of the National Stroke Foundation, said the research could have a huge impact on the quality of life of stroke survivors.
“Stroke is a leading cause of disability in Australia and changes peoples lives suddenly and dramatically.”