The exaggerated blood pressure response to exercise in the sub-acute phase after stroke is not affected by aerobic exercise.
The prevalence of an exaggerated exercise blood pressure (BP) response is unknown in patients with subacute stroke, and it is not known whether an aerobic exercise program modulates this response. The authors randomized 53 patients (27 women) with subacute stroke to 12 weeks of twice-weekly aerobic exercise (n = 29) or to usual care without scheduled physical exercise (n = 24). At baseline, 66% of the patients exhibited an exaggerated exercise BP response (peak systolic BP ≥210 mm Hg in men and ≥190 mm Hg in women) during a symptom-limited ergometer exercise test. At follow-up, patients who had been randomized to the exercise program achieved higher peak work rate, but peak systolic BP remained unaltered. Among patients with a recent stroke, it was common to have an exaggerated systolic BP response during exercise. This response was not altered by participation in a 12-week program of aerobic exercise.