Blood pressure lowering and stroke prevention: a systematic review and network meta-analysis protocol

Xiao-Ling Zhong, Yi Dong, Wei Xu, Li Sun, Hui-Fu Wang, Hong-Qi Li, Yu-Yuan Huang, Lan Tan, Qiang Dong, Jin-Tai Yu


Background: Hypertension is a leading cause of stroke and the significance of blood pressure lowering treatment strategies for prevention of stroke has been well established. Despite the established and widespread use of BP lowering drugs, which one is better for stroke prevention is still debated. This study aimed to determine the most effective and safest blood pressure lowering treatments for stroke prevention among various single and combined therapies.
Methods: A systematic search will be performed in PubMed and the Cochrane Library to identify RCTs and meta analyses of different pharmacological interventions for stroke prevention from January 01, 1966 to December 01, 2018. Primary efficacy outcome will be reduction of stroke incidence and safety outcome will be drug-related side effects withdraw. Study quality will be critically appraised based on the seven-point tool for assessing risk of bias by Cochrane collaboration. Pairwise meta-analyses and Bayesian network meta-analyses will be performed for all related outcome measures. We will conduct subgroup analyses and sensitivity analyses to assess the robustness of our findings.
Discussion: This network meta-analysis will summarize the direct and indirect evidence aiming to provide a ranking of various blood pressure lowering strategies for prevention of stroke. The results of this meta-analysis may help the physicians in determining the best treatments for their patients in stroke prevention.
Trial registration: CRD42018118454.