Emergency Department Visits for Hypertension On the Rise

But admission rates and in-hospital mortality for hypertension have decreased.
But admission rates and in-hospital mortality for hypertension have decreased.

Visits to the emergency department (ED) for hypertension have been increasing in U.S. hospitals, but admissions and deaths have decreased, according to study findings being presented at the American Heart Association's High Blood Pressure Research Scientific Sessions in San Francisco.

Sourabh Aggarwal, MD, of Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, and colleagues analyzed data from 2006 to 2011 for first listed diagnosis of essential hypertension (3,938,456 ED visits) and hypertension with complications and secondary hypertension (1,429,308 ED visits).

The researchers found an admission rate for essential hypertension of 9.76%; the rate of ED visits per 100,000 people increased from 190.1 in 2006 to 238.5 in 2011. The admission rate for essential hypertension declined from 10.47% in 2006 to 8.85% in 2011. For the diagnosis of hypertension with complications and secondary hypertension during the study period, the admission rate was 73.4%; the rate of ED visits per 100,000 people increased from 71.2 in 2006 to 84.7 in 2011. The admission rate for hypertension with complications and secondary hypertension declined from 77.8% in 2006 to 68.7% in 2011. The in-hospital mortality rate decreased from 1.9% in 2006 to 1.2% in 2011.

"The decrease in admissions and deaths may be due to emergency room and hospital physicians becoming more skilled at treating high blood pressure," lead investigator Sourabh Aggarwal, MD, said in a statement. "But there is still a large unmet need for patients to have better help controlling their blood pressure in the outpatient setting."

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