An increased rate of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events has been described during and immediately after earthquakes. In this regard, few data are available on long-term blood pressure control in hypertensive outpatients after an earthquake. We evaluated the long-term effects of the April 2009 L'Aquila earthquake on blood pressure levels, as detected by 24 h ambulatory blood pressure monitoring. Before/after (mean±s.d. 6.9±4.5/14. 2±5.1 months, respectively) the earthquake, the available 24 h ambulatory blood pressure monitoring data for the same patients were extracted from our database. Quake-related daily life discomforts were evaluated through interviews. We enrolled 47 patients (25 female, age 52±14 years), divided into three groups according to antihypertensive therapy changes after versus before the earthquake: unchanged therapy (n=24), increased therapy (n=17) and reduced therapy (n=6). Compared with before the quake, in the unchanged therapy group marked increases in 24 h (P=0.004), daytime (P=0.01) and nighttime (P=0.02) systolic blood pressure were observed after the quake. Corresponding changes in 24 h (P=0.005), daytime (P=0.01) and nighttime (P=0.009) diastolic blood pressure were observed. Daily life discomforts were reported more frequently in the unchanged therapy and increased therapy groups than the reduced therapy group (P=0.025 and P=0.018, respectively). In conclusion, this study shows that patients with unchanged therapy display marked blood pressure increments up to more than 1 year after an earthquake, as well as long-term quake-related discomfort. Our data suggest that particular attention to blood pressure levels and adequate therapy modifications should be considered after an earthquake, not only early after the event but also months later.
- blood pressure monitoring ambulatory
- quality of life
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine