What causes hypertensive encephalopathy?

Updated: Dec 10, 2018
  • Author: Irawan Susanto, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Helmi L Lutsep, MD  more...
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The most common cause of hypertensive encephalopathy is abrupt blood pressure elevation in a chronically hypertensive patient. Other conditions that can predispose a patient to elevated blood pressure and cause the same clinical situation include the following:

  • Chronic renal parenchymal disease

  • Acute glomerulonephritis

  • Renovascular hypertension

  • Withdrawal from hypertensive agents (eg, clonidine)

  • Encephalitis, meningitis

  • Pheochromocytoma, renin-secreting tumors

  • Sympathomimetic agents (eg, cocaine, amphetamines, phencyclidine [PCP], and lysergic acid diethylamide [LSD])

  • Eclampsia and preeclampsia

  • Head trauma, cerebral infarction

  • Collagen-vascular disease

  • Autonomic hyperactivity

  • Vasculitis

  • Ingestion of tyramine-containing foods or tricyclic antidepressants in combination with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)

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