A randomized controlled trial to assess the central hemodynamic response to exercise in patients with transient ischaemic attack and minor stroke

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Early exercise engagement elicits meaningful changes in peripheral blood pressure in patients diagnosed with transient ischaemic attack (TIA) or minor stroke. However, central hemodynamic markers may provide clinicians with important diagnostic and prognostic information beyond that provided by peripheral blood pressure readings. The purpose of this single-centre, randomized, parallel-group clinical trial was to determine the effect of a 12-week aerobic exercise intervention on central and peripheral hemodynamic variables in patients with TIA or minor stroke. In this study, 47 participants (66 ± 10 years) completed a baseline assessment, which involved the measurement of central and peripheral hemodynamic parameters, undertaken in the morning, in a fasted state. Participants were randomized to either a 12-week exercise or control group on completion of the baseline assessment. An identical follow-up assessment was completed post intervention. Central hemodynamic variables were assessed using an oscillometric device at both assessments. Analysis of covariance demonstrated a significant interaction for central and peripheral blood pressure and augmentation index (all P < 0.05; Symbol.09-.11), with the exercise group presenting lower values than the control group post intervention (118 ± 17 vs 132 ± 28 mm Hg for central blood pressure; 125 ± 19 vs 138 ± 28 mm Hg for peripheral blood pressure; 104 ± 49 vs 115 ± 67% for augmentation index). The present study demonstrates that participation in an exercise program soon after stroke/TIA diagnosis may elicit significant beneficial changes to a patient's central systolic blood pressure and augmentation index. This may positively impact upon the treatment strategies implemented by clinicians in the care of patients with TIA and minor stroke.

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