History of hypertension is a frequent finding in patients with acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and its recurring association with female sex, diabetes, older age, less frequent smoking and more frequent vascular comorbidities composes a risk profile quite distinctive from the normotensive ischemic counterpart.
Antecedent hypertension associates with higher rates of death and morbid events both during the early and long-term course of AMI, particularly if complicated by left ventricular dysfunction and/or congestive heart failure. Renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system blockade, through either angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibition, angiotensin II receptor blockade or aldosterone antagonism, exerts particular benefits in that high-risk hypertensive subgroup.
In contrast to the negative implications carried by antecedent hypertension, higher systolic pressure at the onset of chest pain associates with lower mortality within 1 year from coronary occlusion, whereas increased blood pressure recorded after hemodynamic stabilization from the acute ischemic event bears inconsistent relationships with recurring coronary events in the long-term follow-up.
Whether antihypertensive treatment in post-AMI hypertensive patients prevents ischemic relapses is uncertain. As a matter of fact, excessive diastolic pressure drops may jeopardize coronary perfusion and predispose to new acute coronary events, although the precise cause–effect mechanisms underlying this phenomenon need further evaluation.