Malignant hypertension

Alternative Names

Accelerated hypertension; Arteriolar nephrosclerosis; Nephrosclerosis – arteriolar; Hypertension – malignant; High blood pressure – malignant

Definition of Malignant hypertension

Malignant hypertension is a sudden and rapid development of extremely high blood pressure. The lower (diastolic) blood pressure reading, which is normally around 80 mmHg, is often above 130 mmHg.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

The disorder affects about 1% of people with high blood pressure, including both children and adults. It is more common in younger adults, especially African American men. It also occurs in women with toxemia of pregnancy, and persons with kidney disorders or collagen .

Signs and tests

Malignant hypertension is a medical emergency.

Treatment

You will need to stay in the hospital until the severe high blood pressure is under control. Medications will be given through a vein to reduce your blood pressure. If there is fluid in your lungs, you will be given medicines called diuretics, which help the body remove fluid. Your doctor will consider giving you medications to protect the heart if there is evidence of heart damage.

Expectations (prognosis)

Many body systems are in serious risk due to the extreme rise in blood pressure. Multiple organs of the body, including the brain, eyes, blood vessels, heart, and kidneys may be damaged. The blood vessels of the kidney are highly susceptible to damage caused by pressure, and kidney failure may develop, which may be permanent, requiring dialysis (kidney machine).

Review

Jacob L. Heller, MD, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington, Clinic. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 4/20/2009

Hypertensive kidney

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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