Profile of patients with hypertensive urgency and emergency presenting to an urban emergency department of a tertiary referral hospital in Tanzania.BMC Cardiovasc Disord. 2018 08 02; 18(1):158.BC
Hypertensive crises are clinical syndromes grouped as hypertensive urgency and emergency, which occur as complications of untreated or inadequately treated hypertension. Emergency departments across the world are the first points of contact for these patients. There is a paucity of data on patients in hypertensive crises presenting to emergency departments in Tanzania. We aimed to describe the profile and outcome of patients with hypertensive crisis presenting to the Emergency Department of Muhimbili National Hospital in Tanzania.
This was a descriptive cohort study of adult patients aged 18 years and above presenting to the emergency department with hypertensive urgency or emergency over a four-month period. Trained researchers used a structured data sheet to document demographic information, clinical presentation, management and outcome. Descriptive statistics with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) are presented as well as comparisons between the groups with hypertensive urgency vs. emergency.
We screened 8002 patients and enrolled 203 (2.5%). The median age was 55 (interquartile range 45-67 years) and 51.7% were females. Overall 138 (68%) had hypertensive emergency; and 65 (32%) had hypertensive urgency, for an overall rate of 1.7% (95% CI: 1.5 to 2.0%) and 0.81% (95% CI: 0.63 to 1.0%), respectively. Altered mental status was the most common presenting symptom in hypertensive emergency [74 (53.6%)]; low Glasgow Coma Scale was the most common physical finding [61 (44.2%)]; and cerebrovascular accident was the most common final diagnosis [63 (31%)]. One hundred twelve patients with hypertensive emergency (81.2%) were admitted and three died in the emergency department, while 24 patients with hypertensive urgency (36.9%) were admitted and none died in the emergency department. In-hospital mortality rates for hypertensive emergency and urgency were 37 (26.8%) and 2 (3.1%), respectively.
In our cohort of adult patients with elevated blood pressure, hypertensive crisis was associated with substantial morbidity and mortality, with the most vulnerable being those with hypertensive emergency. Further research is required to determine the aetiology, pathophysiology and the most appropriate strategies for prevention and management of hypertensive crisis.