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Singapore Med J. 2000 May;41(5):235-8.

Hypertension in the young adult--come feel the pulse.

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Départment of Medicine, Alexandra Hospital, Singapore.


Hypertension occurring in teenagers and young adults is uncommon. Though the most common form is still essential hypertension, secondary causes are more commonly found here than in older adults. Renal, cardiovascular and endocrine diseases constitute most of these causes. Coarctation of the aorta is the most common cardiovascular cause of hypertension, and its importance lies in the fact that it is correctable, and that its persistence often leads to dangerous complications and early death. The cardinal sign of differential pulse and blood pressures between the upper and lower limbs can be detected clinically. Hence, the importance of a detailed physical examination in all young hypertensives, including palpation of all the pulses, cannot be overemphasized. We present 2 hypertensive young men who were found to have isolated coarctation of the aorta. The lesion in the first patient was located postductally just distal to the left subclavian artery. This area has been found to be the most common site of coarctation. The second patient had an unusual mid-thoracic coarctation. The clinical and radiological features as well as complications are highlighted. In young hypertensive patients, a high index of suspicion may enable the physician to make a timely diagnosis and hence avert the potentially disastrous complications that may arise in undetected cases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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