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Post-stroke hypertension control and receipt of health care services among veterans.

Kohok DD, Sico JJ, Baye F, Myers L, Coffing J, Kamalesh M, Bravata DM. Post-stroke hypertension control and receipt of health care services among veterans. Journal of clinical hypertension (Greenwich, Conn.). 2018 Feb 4; 20(2):382-387.

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Many ischemic stroke patients do not achieve goal blood pressure (BP  <  140/90 mm Hg). To identify barriers to post-stroke hypertension management, we examined healthcare utilization and BP control in the year after index ischemic stroke admission. This retrospective cohort study included patients admitted for acute ischemic stroke to a VA hospital in fiscal year 2011 and who were discharged with a BP  =  140/90 mm Hg. One-year post-discharge, BP trajectories, utilization of primary care, specialty and ancillary services were studied. Among 265 patients, 246 (92.8%) were seen by primary care (PC) during the 1-year post-discharge; a median time to the first PC visit was 32 days (interquartile range: 53). Among N  =  245 patients with post-discharge BP data, 103 (42.0%) achieved a mean BP  <  140/90 mm Hg in the year post-discharge. Provider follow-ups were: neurology (51.7%), cardiology (14.0%), nephrology (7.2%), endocrinology (3.8%), and geriatrics (2.6%) and ancillary services (BP monitor [30.6%], pharmacy [20.0%], nutrition [8.3%], and telehealth [8%]). Non-adherence to medications was documented in 21.9% of patients and was observed more commonly among patients with uncontrolled compared with controlled BP (28.7% vs 15.5%; P  =  .02). The recurrent stroke rate did not differ among patients with uncontrolled (4.2%) compared with controlled BP (3.8%; P  =  .89). Few patients achieved goal BP in the year post-stroke. Visits to primary care were not timely. Underuse of specialty as well as ancillary services and provider perception of medication non-adherence were common. Future intervention studies seeking to improve post-stroke hypertension management should address these observed gaps in care.

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