A hypertensive emergency is defined as the clinical situation in which there is a marked elevation of blood pressure (BP) associated with acute or progressive end organ damage, e.g. cardiovascular, renal or neurological dysfunction.

It is a life-threatening condition that requires aggressive lowering of the blood pressure to limit end organ damage and prevent an adverse outcome [1].

Conditions defining hypertensive emergencies when associated with acute elevation of blood pressure are:

  • Hypertensive encephalopathy
  • Intracranial haemorrhage
  • Acute myocardial ischaemia or infarction
  • Acute left ventricular failure
  • Dissecting aneurysm
  • Eclampsia
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