1. Hickey, Joanne V. PhD, RN, APRN, BC, FAAN, FCCM
  2. Salmeron, Eva T. MD
  3. Lai, Jenny M. MD


In people who are healthy, circadian rhythm in blood pressure is well established, with a 10% to 20% decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure during nighttime. Deviations correlate with target organ disease such as left ventricular hypertrophy, retinopathy, renal disease, and stroke. Little is known about blood pressure and circadian patterns in stroke patients. This study examined 13 patients hospitalized after ischemic stroke and monitored 24-hour blood pressure with ambulatory blood pressure monitors programmed to collect readings every 30 minutes. All subjects had an abnormal pattern in blood pressure that did not dip during nighttime. Blood pressure load, a reported indicator of risk for target organ damage, was exceeded in all subjects during daytime and nighttime. Thus stroke patients are at high risk for target organ disease including recurrent stroke. Hypertensive management of stroke patients requires further investigation.