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Hypertens Res. 2011 Mar;34(3):367-71. doi: 10.1038/hr.2010.245. Epub 2010 Dec 16.

Hypertensive crisis: clinical-epidemiological profile.

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  • 1Hypertension Clinic-Hospital de Base, State Medical School of São José do Rio Preto (FAMERP), Sao Paulo, Brazil. vilelamartin@uol.com.br


Hypertensive crisis (HC) stands out as one type of acute elevation in blood pressure (BP) and can manifest as hypertensive emergency (HE-with target-organ damage (TOD)) or hypertensive urgency (HU-without TOD), usually accompanied by levels of diastolic BP ≥120 mmHg. The aim of this study was to characterize the clinical-epidemiological profile of HC over the course of 1 year in a university reference hospital and perform a review of the literature. The study was a cross-sectional study, conducted over a period of 1 year (2006) in 362 patients who presented for treatment at the emergency hospital with HC, as described above. Among all patients examined, 231 individuals met the criteria for HE and 131 met the criteria for HU. Patients with HE were older (P<0.001) and more sedentary (P=0.026) than those with HU. Furthermore, fewer HE patients than HU patients had previously undergone antihypertensive treatment (P=0.006). The groups did not differ regarding BP levels, gender, smoking or body mass index. Dyspnea (41.1%), thoracic pain (37.2%) and neurological deficit (27.2%) were common signs/symptoms in those with HE. Meanwhile, in the group with HU, we most frequently found headache (42.0%), thoracic pain (41.2%) and dyspnea (34.3%). Among the forms of HE, we most frequently observed acute lung edema (30.7%), myocardial infarction/unstable angina (25.1%), and ischemic (22.9%) and hemorrhagic (14.8%) stroke. HC is a clinical entity associated with high morbidity in the emergency room. Individuals with HE are older and sedentary and have lower rates of antihypertensive treatment. Adequate control of BP should be pursued as a way to avoid this severe complication of hypertension.

© 2011 The Japanese Society of Hypertension All rights reserved

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