the objective was to identify the intervenient factors in the adhesion to the anti-hypertensive treatment that contributed to the stroke appearance as complication of arterial hypertension. this is a descriptive quantitative study carried out in a stroke unit of a public hospital. the sample was composed by 75 patients with diagnosis of systemic arterial hypertension (sah) attacked by a stroke, admitted in the referred unit. data collection happened in march and april 2010. the study was approved by the research and ethics committee under protocol no. 110302/10. the intervenient factors in patients' adhesion to the anti-hypertensive treatment were: male (61.4%), older than 60 years-old (48%), family history of sah (68%), low education (72%), family income up to one minimum wage (52%), unsatisfactory professional-patient relationship (14.6%), difficult access to health unit (6.6%) and presence of side effects (22.6%). maybe the experience of a stroke is a decisive factor to patient's adherence to antihypertensive treatment. it is necessary that nurses carry out monitoring the patients with hypertension regularly, informing them about the disease and treatment to prevent complications.