Nav: Home

Vanderbilt study finds hypertension-related visits to emergency rooms on rise in US

December 21, 2015

The number and percentage of patients treated at emergency departments for hypertension are on the rise across the United States, according to a Vanderbilt University Medical Center study published recently in the American Journal of Cardiology.

"We found that around 25 percent of all emergency department visits involved patients with hypertension, and that the rate of hypertension-related visits has gone up more than 20 percent since 2006," said Candace McNaughton, M.D., MPH, assistant professor of Emergency Medicine, one of the researchers.

Uncontrolled hypertension is a major treatable risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease and a significant cause of death in the United States.

Many people do not know they have hypertension or that their hypertension is uncontrolled because high blood pressure does not usually cause symptoms.

"The study highlights how common hypertension is, and that it's becoming an even bigger problem affecting a large number of patients who seek care in the emergency department," McNaughton said.

According to the authors, the increase may be related to the increasing prevalence of hypertension in the general population and greater public and clinician awareness of the disease.

In addition, the number of patients visiting emergency departments primarily to be treated for hypertension is on the rise -- about 6.4 million emergency department visits were identified involving patients seeking care for hypertension-related issues.

"Emergency department visits for patients with a primary diagnosis of hypertension were more likely among patients who were younger and less likely to have private health insurance," McNaughton said.

The researchers used information on emergency department visits from the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample, a database they have used previously to examine other illnesses, such as heart failure, atrial fibrillation and pneumonia.

The team was able to match the emergency department data with the U.S. Census database to measure the national rates of hypertension and other patient factors among emergency department patients.

These findings may serve to make health care providers more aware of hypertension-related issues, and it highlights the burden of hypertension among patients who seek emergency department care.

For the public, "It speaks to the greater overall importance of hypertension and that lifestyle factors such as taking medication as prescribed, quitting smoking, exercising and eating less salt are all really important," McNaughton said.

She added that more research is needed to identify the most effective and efficient ways for emergency departments to help serve patients with hypertension.

"The role of the emergency department in the management of chronic disease is still poorly understood, with hypertension as an opportunity to show how we can safely use the emergency department to manage patients with these conditions," McNaughton said.
-end-
This research was funded by the following federal grants: K12 HL109019, K23 HL 125670, K23 GM110469, and R01 MD 005849.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Related Hypertension Articles:

Diagnosing hypertension in children
Study results call into question the utility of testing blood pressure load--the proportion of elevated blood pressure readings detected over 24 hours--for diagnosing hypertension in children.
When the best treatment for hypertension is to wait
A new study concluded that a physician's decision not to intensify hypertension treatment is often a contextually appropriate choice.
Treatment of hypertension induced albuminuria
Patients with albuminuria will usually need more than one drug to achieve blood pressure control, particularly if the aim is also to reduce albuminuria.
Diagnosing and treating resistant hypertension
Resistant blood pressure affects 12 percent to 15 percent of people currently being treated for high blood pressure.
Dementia can be caused by hypertension
A new study in Cardiovascular Research indicates that patients with high blood pressure are at a higher risk of developing dementia.
Hormone imbalance causes treatment-resistant hypertension
British researchers have discovered a hormone imbalance that explains why it is very difficult to control blood pressure in around 10 per cent of hypertension patients.
Breastfeeding reduces hypertension risk
A study published in the American Journal of Hypertension indicates that women who breastfeed more children, and for longer periods of time, are less likely to suffer from hypertension after they reach menopause.
Lung cancer triggers pulmonary hypertension
Nearly half of all advanced-stage lung cancer patients develop arterial pulmonary hypertension.
Targeting mitochondria in pulmonary hypertension
Investigators at the University of Alberta and the Imperial College of Medicine have shown that the generic drug, Dichloroacetate (DCA), can decrease the blood pressure in the lungs of pulmonary arterial hypertension patients and improve their ability to walk, without significant side effects at the doses tested.
Gut bacteria metabolism may factor into hypertension
One in three American adults suffers from high blood pressure, or hypertension.
More Hypertension News and Hypertension Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Clint Smith
The killing of George Floyd by a police officer has sparked massive protests nationwide. This hour, writer and scholar Clint Smith reflects on this moment, through conversation, letters, and poetry.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Nina
Producer Tracie Hunte stumbled into a duet between Nina Simone and the sounds of protest outside her apartment. Then she discovered a performance by Nina on April 7, 1968 - three days after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Tracie talks about what Nina's music, born during another time when our country was facing questions that seemed to have no answer, meant then and why it still resonates today.  Listen to Nina's brother, Samuel Waymon, talk about that April 7th concert here.