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Published online: 2023-04-14

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The importance of blood pressure measurements at the emergency department in detection of arterial hypertension

Jacek Szypenbejl1, Michał Hoffmann2, Kamil Chwojnicki3, Katarzyna Czyż-Szypenbejl4, Adrianna Kowalke1, Zuzanna Węgłowska1, Mariusz Siemiński1


Background: Arterial hypertension (AH) is the most important modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular diseases in Poland and around the world. Unfortunately, despite its potentially catastrophic consequences, more than 30% of hypertensive patients in Poland remain undiagnosed. Therefore, emergency department (ED) triage may play a role in screening of a significant proportion of the population. The present study aimed to assess the prevalence of hypertension in patients reporting to the ED by verifying ad hoc measurements with ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM).

Methods: The study included 78,274 patients admitted to the ED of the University Clinical Center in Gdansk from 01.01.2019 to 31.12.2020, with elevated blood pressure values (systolic blood pressure [SBP] > 140 mmHg and/or diastolic blood pressure [DBP] > 90 mmHg) during triage according to the inclusion and exclusion criteria.

Results: Out of 34,597 patients with SBP > 140 mmHg and/or DBP > 90 mmHg, 27,896 patients (80.6% of patients) had previously been diagnosed with AH. Finally, a group of 6701 patients with elevated values of arterial blood pressure in triage, who had not yet been diagnosed with AH, was identified. This accounted for 8.6% of patients admitted to the ED. Ultimately, 58 patients (26 women and 36 men) agreed to undergo ABPM. Based on the analysis, AH 32 patients were diagnosed with AH (55.2%).

Conclusions: The ED plays an essential role in diagnosing hypertension among people reporting to the ED for various reasons. There is a high probability of a diagnosis of AH in a group of patients who have elevated blood pressure values during triage and have not yet been diagnosed with hypertension.

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