High blood pressure is a major public health threat and one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. An analysis of hospitalization and follow-up care for individuals with severe hypertension, however, shows gaping holes in the maintenance of care.
Granger and colleagues at nearly two dozen institutions around the country created a special registry to find out what happens to patients with acute, severe hypertension – those with blood pressure readings above 160/110 – when they come to an emergency department or critical care setting for treatment. They found that although 90 percent of them already had a diagnosis of high blood pressure, about a quarter of them were not taking the medicines they were supposed to. The researchers also found that extremely high blood pressure was related to high complication and death rates. Many of the patients already had major organ damage and over six percent of them died in the hospital. Upon discharge, most of the patients were given prescriptions for at least two medicines, but 41 percent had to be readmitted within three months.