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Blood Press. 2010 Dec;19(6):328-36. doi: 10.3109/08037051.2010.488052. Epub 2010 May 27.

Hypertension crisis.

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Hypertension Clinic, Laiko University Hospital, Athens, Greece.


Hypertensive crises (76% urgencies, 24% emergencies) represented more than one fourth of all medical urgencies/emergencies. Hypertensive urgencies frequently present with headache (22%), epistaxis (17%), faintness, and psychomotor agitation (10%) and hypertensive emergencies frequently present with chest pain (27%), dyspnea (22%) and neurological deficit (21%). Types of end-organ damage associated with hypertensive emergencies include cerebral infarction (24%), acute pulmonary edema (23%) and hypertensive encephalopathy (16%), as well as cerebral hemorrhage (4.5%). The most important factor that limits morbidity and mortality from these disorders is prompt and carefully considered therapy. Unfortunately, hypertensive emergencies and urgencies are among the most misunderstood and mismanaged of acute medical problems seen today. The primary goal of intervention in a hypertensive crisis is to safely reduce BP. Immediate reduction in BP is required only in patients with acute end-organ damage (i.e. hypertensive emergency). This requires treatment with a titratable short-acting intravenous (IV) antihypertensive agent, while severe hypertension with no acute end-organ damage is usually treated with oral antihypertensive agents. Patients with hypertensive emergencies are best treated in an intensive care unit (ICU) with titratable IV hypotensive agents. The aim of this review is to summarize the details regarding the definition-impact, causes, clinical condition and management of hypertensive crises.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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