Controversy persists as to whether reducing the blood pressure of patients with a history of stroke leads to an increased risk of silent brain infarct (SBI) and dementia. A total of 667 patients were randomized to receive the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor perindopril (4 mg daily), with or without the diuretic indapamide (2 mg daily) or matching placebo(s). Brain CT scanning was performed annually over the mean follow-up period of 3.9 years. Active treatment reduced the blood pressure (systolic/diastolic) by 5.2/2.6 mmHg over the follow-up period. A total of 119 new SBI were detected and 92% of them were lacunar type small infarcts. The frequency of reaching the primary end-point (recurrent symptomatic stroke or new SBI) was similar in the placebo group (26.5%) and in the active treatment group (25.9%). There was no significant difference in brain atrophy indices between two groups. In the subgroup with a history of large artery infarction, 7 out of 55 patients from the placebo group developed new SBI, while none of the 40 patients from the active treatment group did so (p=0.020). The baseline diastolic blood pressure was significantly associated with the risk of new SBI (p=0.004), but the stroke subtype was not. In conclusion, blood pressure-lowering with a perindopril-based regimen did not increase the risk of SBI and brain atrophy in patients with a history of stroke. The baseline diastolic blood pressure was an independent predictor of new SBI, but the index stroke subtype did not influence the risk of SBI.
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