Low Blood Pressure, Comorbidities, and Ischemic Stroke Mortality in US Veterans

Hugo J. Aparicio, Laura M. Tarko, David Gagnon, Lauren Costa, Ashley Galloway, Serkalem Demissie, Luc Djousse, Sudha Seshadri, Kelly Cho, Peter W.F. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose: Low blood pressure (BP) is associated with higher stroke mortality, although the factors underlying this association have not been fully explored. We investigated prestroke BP and long-term mortality after ischemic stroke in a national sample of US veterans. Methods: Using a retrospective cohort study design of veterans hospitalized between 2002 and 2007 with a first ischemic stroke and with ≥1 outpatient BP measurements 1 to 18 months before admission, we defined 6 categories each of average prestroke systolic BP (SBP) and diastolic BP, and 7 categories of pulse pressure. Patients were followed-up to 12 years for primary outcomes of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality. We used Cox models to relate prestroke BP indices to mortality and stratified analyses by the presence of preexisting comorbidities (smoking, myocardial infarction, heart failure, atrial fibrillation/flutter, cancer, and dementia), race and ethnicity. Results: Of 29 690 eligible veterans with stroke (mean±SD age 67±12 years, 98% men, 67% White), 2989 (10%) had average prestroke SBP<120 mm Hg. During a follow-up of 4.1±3.3 years, patients with SBP<120 mm Hg experienced 61% all-cause and 27% cardiovascular mortality. In multivariable analyses, patients with the lowest SBP, lowest diastolic BP, and highest pulse pressure had the highest mortality risk: SBP<120 versus 130 to 139 mm Hg (hazard ratio=1.26 [95% CI, 1.19-1.34]); diastolic BP <60 versus 70 to 79 mm Hg (hazard ratio=1.35 [95% CI, 1.23-1.49]); and pulse pressure ≥90 versus 60 to 69 mm Hg (hazard ratio=1.24 [95% CI, 1.15-1.35]). Patients with average SBP<120 mm Hg and at least one comorbidity (smoking, heart disease, cancer, or dementia) had the highest mortality risk (hazard ratio=1.45 [95% CI, 1.37-1.53]). Conclusions: Compared with normotension, low prestroke BP was associated with mortality after stroke, particularly among patients with at least one comorbidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)886-894
Number of pages9
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022


  • blood pressure
  • cerebrovascular disorders
  • epidemiology
  • hypertension
  • mortality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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