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blood pressure, hypertension, malignant hypertension



  1. Lawson, Lauren PhD


High blood pressure is one of the most common chronic medical conditions in this country, occurring in about 1 of every 3 adults. It is not uncommon for nurses to see individuals in the emergency room, hospital, home, or other settings who have severely elevated blood pressure readings. Extremely elevated readings generally evoke considerable concern among healthcare staff. They are faced with deciding whether the individual requires immediate treatment and a higher level of care, such as transport to an emergency department. Severely elevated blood pressure can be a true medical emergency, may require urgent care, or may in fact be a nonemergency. The purpose of this article is to assist nurses in recognizing those situations in which severely elevated blood pressure requires immediate intervention. Current research and best evidence regarding severely elevated blood pressure are presented.