A calcium channel or angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor/angiotensin receptor blocker regime to reduced blood pressure variability in acute ischaemic stroke (CAARBS): A feasibility trial

William J. Davison, Karen Appiah, Thompson G. Robinson, Iain J. Mcgurgan, Peter M. Rothwell, John F. Potter

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Background: Trials of lowering blood pressure in patients with acute ischaemic stroke not undergoing thrombolysis have not demonstrated improved outcomes with intervention. Rather than absolute levels, it may be that blood pressure variability is important. However, there are no prospective randomised trials investigating the benefit of reducing blood pressure variability in this patient group. Aims: The primary aim of this trial was to determine the feasibility of recruitment to a randomised trial investigating the effect of different antihypertensive medications on blood pressure variability. Methods: CAARBS was a multi-centre, open-label, randomised parallel group controlled feasibility trial. Adults with a first mild-moderate ischaemic stroke or transient ischaemic attack, requiring antihypertensive therapy for secondary prevention, were randomised to a calcium channel blocker or angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor/angiotensin receptor blocker. Blood pressure and variability were measured at baseline, three weeks, and three months. Compliance with measurements and treatment was monitored. Results: Fourteen patients were recruited to the trial (0.6% of those screened), nine of whom completed follow-up. The majority of patients screened (98.1%) were ineligible. Compliance with the intervention was good, as were measurement completion rates (88.9% or higher in all cases except ambulatory measurements). No major adverse events were recorded. Conclusions: Recruitment to the trial was difficult due to patient ineligibility, suggesting that the current protocol is unlikely to be successful if scaled for a definitive trial. However, the intervention was safe, and compliance was good, suggesting a future trial with modified eligibility criteria could be successful. Trial registration: ISRCTN10853487.

Original languageEnglish
Article number116753
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the Neurological Sciences
Early online date19 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2020


  • Blood pressure variability
  • Hypertension
  • Stroke

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