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February 1985

Systemic Necrotizing Vasculitis Seen Initially as Hypertensive Crisis

Author Affiliations

From the Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Miami School of Medicine.

Arch Intern Med. 1985;145(2):265-267. doi:10.1001/archinte.1985.00360020091016

• Necrotizing vasculitis is not usually considered in the differential diagnosis of hypertensive crisis. Three cases are presented in which hypertensive crisis with encephalopathy was the principal initially seen manifestation of systemic necrotizing vasculitis. The correct diagnosis was suspected because of the patients' young age, elevated ESRs, and evidence of previous exposure to hepatitis B virus and was confirmed by renal angiography. All three patients had metabolic alkalosis, and two of the three patients had hyponatremia and hypokalemia. The literature presents a picture of hypertension in necrotizing vasculitis as insidious, relentless, and progressive. Our cases illustrate that it can be a dramatic, life-threatening initial manifestation. A renal angiogram can be justified in similar patients, since effective therapy for necrotizing vasculitis exists. In these patients control of BP ultimately depends on successful treatment of the underlying vasculitis.

(Arch Intern Med 1985;145:265-267)