Munson Health
 
Malignant Hypertension

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by McCarthy AA

(Hypertensive Emergency; Hypertensive Crisis; Hypertensive Urgency)

 

Causes

In addition to having high blood pressure , medical conditions leading to the development of malignant hypertension include:
  • History of kidney disorders or failure
  • Taking certain drugs or medications, including cocaine, amphetamines, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), and oral contraceptives
  • History of collagen vascular diseases
  • Pregnant women with preeclampsia and eclampsia
  • Pheochromocytoma
  • Spinal cord disorders
  • Coarctation or dissection of the aorta
  • Renal artery stenosis or narrowing of the arteries to the kidneys
  • Missing doses of prescribed antihypertensive medications, particularly beta-blockers or clonidine (Catapres), which can cause a rebound effect. Medication noncompliance is the most common reason for hypertensive emergencies.
 

Symptoms

Malignant hypertension produces noticeable symptoms, including:
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Headache
  • Visual problems
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Numbness/weakness of the legs, arms, face
If you experience any of the above symptoms, do not assume it is due to malignant hypertension. These symptoms may be caused by other health conditions, including a heart attack or other less serious disorders. If you experience any one of them, see your physician.
 

RESOURCES

American Heart Association
http://www.americanheart.org

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov

 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

The Canadian Hypertension Society
http://www.hypertension.ca

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC)
http://www.sogc.org

 

References


Elliot WJ. Clinical features and management of selective hypertensive emergencies. J Clin Hypertens . 2004;6(10):587-92.


Tuncel M, Ram VC. Hypertensive emergencies: etiology and management. Am J Cardiovasc Drugs . 2003;3(1):21-31.


Van den Born BJ, Honnebier UP, Koppmans RP, van Montfrans GA. Microangiopathic hemolysis and renal failure in malignant hypertension. Hypertension . February 2005;45(2):246-51.

 

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