What percentage of adults experience increased blood pressure (BP) during an emergency department (ED) visit and what are the criteria for hypertensive emergency?

Updated: Feb 05, 2018
  • Author: Christy Hopkins, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Barry E Brenner, MD, PhD, FACEP  more...
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Approximately 3%-45% of adult patients have at least one incident of increased blood pressure (BP) during their stay in the emergency department (ED). The fundamental principle in determining the necessary ED care of the hypertensive patient is the presence or absence of end-organ dysfunction. [12] Many patients present to the ED with elevated BPs; however, only a small proportion of patients will require emergency treatment. An important point to remember in the management of the patient with any degree of BP elevation is to "treat the patient and not the number."

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