Treatment intensification for elevated blood pressure and risk of recurrent stroke

Beom Joon Kim, Yong Jin Cho, Keun Sik Hong, Jun Lee, Joon Tae Kim, Kang Ho Choi, Tai Hwan Park, Sang Soon Park, Jong Moo Park, Kyusik Kang, Soo Joo Lee, Jae Guk Kim, Jae Kwan Cha, Dae Hyun Kim, Byung Chul Lee, Kyung Ho Yu, Mi Sun Oh, Dong Eog Kim, Wi Sun Ryu, Jay Chol ChoiWook Joo Kim, Dong Ick Shin, Sung Il Sohn, Jeong Ho Hong, Ji Sung Lee, Juneyoung Lee, Moon Ku Han, Philip B. Gorelick, Hee Joon Bae*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: It remains unclear whether physicians’ attitudes toward timely management of elevated blood pressure affect the risk of stroke recurrence. METHODS AND RESULTS: From a multicenter stroke registry database, we identified 2933 patients with acute ischemic stroke who were admitted to participating centers in 2011, survived at the 1-year follow-up period, and returned to outpatient clin-ics ≥2 times after discharge. As a surrogate measure of physicians’ attitude, individual treatment intensification (TI) scores were calculated by dividing the difference between the frequencies of observed and expected medication changes by the frequency of clinic visits and categorizing them into 5 groups. The association between TI groups and the recurrence of stroke within 1 year was analyzed using hierarchical frailty models, with adjustment for clustering within each hospital and relevant covariates. Mean±SD of the TI score was −0.13±0.28. The TI score groups were significantly associated with increased risk of recurrent stroke compared with Group 3 (TI score range, −0.25 to 0); Group 1 (range, −1 to −0.5), adjusted hazard ratio (HR) 13.43 (95% CI, 5.95–30.35); Group 2 (range, −0.5 to −0.25), adjusted HR 4.59 (95% CI, 2.01–10.46); and Group 4 (TI score 0), adjusted HR 6.60 (95% CI, 3.02–14.45); but not with Group 5 (range, 0–1), adjusted HR 1.68 (95% CI, 0.62–4.56). This elevated risk in the lowest TI score groups persisted when confining analysis to those with hypertension, history of blood pressure-lowering medication, no atrial fibrillation, and regular clinic visits and stratifying the subjects by functional capacity at discharge. CONCLUSIONS: A low TI score, which implies physicians’ therapeutic inertia in blood pressure management, was associated with a higher risk of recurrent stroke. The TI score may be a useful performance indicator in the outpatient clinic setting to prevent recurrent stroke.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere019457
JournalJournal of the American Heart Association
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2021


  • Clinical inertia
  • Hypertension
  • Prevention
  • Stroke
  • Treatment intensification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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