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Crit Care Nurs Clin North Am. 2015 Dec;27(4):439-47. doi: 10.1016/j.cnc.2015.08.003. Epub 2015 Sep 26.

Hypertensive Crisis: A Review of Pathophysiology and Treatment.

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Department of Pharmacy and Clinical Nutrition, Grady Health System, 80 Jesse Hill Jr Drive SE, Atlanta, GA 30303, USA. Electronic address:


Hypertensive crisis presents as hypertensive urgency or hypertensive emergency, the differences being the presence or absence of target organ damage (TOD) and the type of treatment the patient will receive. Patients with hypertensive urgency do not express TOD, which is seen only in hypertensive emergencies and can involve the heart, kidneys, or brain. Recognition of hypertensive crisis at initial assessment is crucial. An important first step is to obtain a full medical and medication history to be used as a guide for treatment. Proper and effective treatment of hypertensive urgency or emergency involves appropriate use of specific agents based on knowledge of any comorbid disease state.


Hypertensive crisis; Hypertensive emergency; Hypertensive urgency

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