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OBJECTIVE: To determine the age-specific temporal trends in blood pressure (BP) before acute lacunar vs nonlacunar TIA and stroke. METHODS: In a population-based study of TIA/ischemic stroke (Oxford Vascular Study), we studied 15-year premorbid BP readings from primary care records in patients with lacunar vs nonlacunar events (Trial of Org 10172 in Acute Stroke Treatment [TOAST]) stratified by age (<65, ≥65 years). RESULTS: Of 2,085 patients (1,250 with stroke, 835 with TIA), 309 had lacunar events. In 493 patients <65 years of age, the prevalence of diagnosed hypertension did not differ between lacunar and nonlacunar events (46 [48.4%] vs 164 [41.2%], p = 0.20), but mean/SD premorbid BP (44,496 BP readings) was higher in patients with lacunar events (15-year records: systolic BP [SBP] 138.5/17.7 vs 133.3/15.0 mm Hg, p = 0.004; diastolic BP [DBP] 84.1/9.6 vs 80.9/8.4 mm Hg, p = 0.001), mainly because of higher mean BP during the 5 years before the event (SBP 142.6/18.8 vs 134.6/16.6 mm Hg, p = 0.0001; DBP 85.2/9.7 vs 80.6/9.0 mm Hg, p < 0.0001), with a rising trend (ptrend = 0.006) toward higher BP leading up to the event (<30-day pre-event SBP: 152.7/16.1 vs 135.3/23.1 mm Hg, p = 0.009; DBP 87.9/9.4 vs 80.8/12.8 mm Hg, p = 0.05; mean BP ≤1 year before the event 145.8/22.0 vs 134.7/16.1 mm Hg, p = 0.001; 86.1/10.7 vs 80.4/9.8 mm Hg, p = 0.0001). Maximum BP in the 5 years before the event was also higher in patients with lacunar events (SBP 173.7/26.6 vs 158.6/23.2 mm Hg, p = 0.0001; DBP 102.3/12.9 vs 94.2/11.2 mm Hg, p < 0.0001), as was persistently elevated BP (≥50% SBP >160 mm Hg, odd ratio 4.95, 95% confidence interval 1.99-12.31, p = 0.0002). However, no similar differences in BP were observed in patients ≥65 years of age. CONCLUSION: Recent premorbid BP control is strongly temporarily related to acute lacunar events at younger ages, suggesting a direct role of BP in accelerating causal pathology and highlighting the need to control hypertension quickly.

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