ER visits for high blood pressure rise 25% in five years

The number of patients who went to the emergency room (ER) for hypertension jumped 25 percent in recent years, according to a study presented at this year's American Heart Association's High Blood Pressure Research Scientific Sessions. Researchers from Western Michigan University School of Medicine analyzed 3.9 million ER visits between 2006 and 2011 and found essential hypertension visits increased by one-fourth, while hospital admissions for those patients dropped by 15 percent. ER visits for hypertension with complication and secondary hypertension increased 19 percent, but admission for that condition fell 12 percent and the number of patients who died in the hospital dropped 36 percent. "The decrease in admissions and deaths may be due to emergency room and hospital physicians becoming more skilled at treating high blood pressure," co-author Yashwant Agrawal, M.D., said. "But there is still a large unmet need for patients to have better help controlling their blood pressure in the outpatient setting." Report abstract

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