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antihypertensive medications, end organ damage, hypertension, hypertensive crisis, hypertensive urgency



  1. Schulenburg, Margaret MSN, RN, CCRN


Hypertensive emergencies are characterized by acute blood pressure elevations and potential for end organ damage. The critical care nurse must understand the pathophysiology to appreciate the therapeutic management and complications associated with the devastating clinical event. Stroke, renal damage and failure, retinopathy, aortic dissection, and encephalopathy are among the sequelae of severe hypertensive episodes. Intravenous medications are the treatment of choice to lower the blood pressure without risking hypoperfusion of the brain and other vital organs.