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Volume 160 - Anno 2009 - Numero 2

The management of hypertensive crises: A clinical review

di M.S. Pergolini

Hypertension is an exceedingly common disorder in Western societies; but, thanks to improved management of chronic hypertension, the number of patients who present with hypertensive crisis (HC) is less than 1%. However, critical elevation of blood pressure (BP) obliges to a proper and immediate management in order to prevent serious injury to organ target of hypertension (brain, heart, kidney and vessels). Moreover, the so called hypertensive emergencies (HE) and the hypertensive urgencies (HU) expect a several therapeutic approach. The HE warrant both prompt admission to an intensive care unit, where it is available a continuous monitoring of BP, and a prompt starting of a therapy with parenteral anti-hypertensive drugs. The treatment of HU can be managed choosing oral anti-hypertensive agents followed by a tight observation of the patient also in ambulatory system, lowering the BP more gradually over 12 to 24-48 hours. The present clinical review is aimed at reporting the current opinions on the management of HC, examining as well the drugs of largest use. Any drug that lowers BP precipitously should be avoided. Choice of the appropriate agent should be based on the underlying pathophysiological and clinical findings, on the mechanism of action, and on its potential side effects. Clin Ter 2009; 160(2):151-157

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