Causes of Hypertensive Emergencies

Most hypertensive emergencies occur in patients with known hypertension and are the result of inadequate treatment or poor compliance [1].

Whatever the aetiology of the underlying hypertension, hypertensive emergencies are thought to be triggered by abrupt rises in systemic vascular resistance and failure of normal autoregulatory mechanisms.

Hypertensive emergencies result in:

  • Microvascular injury
  • Arteriolar fibrinoid necrosis
  • Local mediator release
  • Platelet activation and aggregation and ischaemic injury
  • Further autoregulatory dysfunction and a continued cycle leading to organ damage