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April 11, 1977

Hypertension Crisis: Recognition and Management

Author Affiliations

From the Hypertension Services, Department of Medicine, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and Cincinnati General Hospital, Cincinnati.

JAMA. 1977;237(15):1570-1577. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03270420038013

Situations requiring immediate lowering of systemic blood pressure are infrequent. Certain clinical syndromes resulting from or complicated by severe hypertension demand vigorous, usually parenteral, antihypertensive therapy. Such syndromes include (1) diastolic hypertension accompanied by sudden disruption of cerebral function, (2) dissecting or leaking aortic aneurysm, (3) accelerated or malignant hypertension, (4) toxemia of pregnancy when either the fetus' or the mother's life is immediately threatened, (5) some instances of diastolic hypertension and acute left ventricular failure, (6) uncontrolled hypertension in the patient who requires emergency surgery, (7) refractory elevation of the diastolic pressure in the kidney transplant patient, and (8) refractory hypertension complicating myocardial infarction or angina.

Drugs useful in acutely lowering blood pressure include diazoxide, sodium nitroprusside, methyldopa intravenously, reserpine intramuscularly, and trimethaphan camsylate intravenously. Use of furosemide reinforces the hypotensive effect of these agents. Theoretical advantages and disadvantages of these agents are not always encountered in clinical use.

(JAMA 237:1570-1577, 1977)