Saliba, L., Stawicki, S.P., Thongrong, C. et al. Intern Emerg Med (2014) 9: 553. doi:10.1007/s11739-013-0984-0
Although chronic hypertension is associated with long-term complications, few studies directly examine the effects of in-hospital acute hypertensive episodes in trauma patients. The aim was to determine whether there is an association between in-hospital acute hypertension and morbidity. We included trauma patients between 45 and 89 years who presented to a level I trauma center between January and September 2008. Patients were classified as either experiencing or not experiencing acute hypertensive episode(s) as defined by systolic blood pressure ≥180, or diastolic blood pressure ≥110 mmHg, or at least two readings of systolic blood pressure ≥160 or diastolic blood pressure ≥100 mmHg. The primary outcome was a composite endpoint of myocardial infarction, stroke, venous thromboembolism, new-onset atrial fibrillation, or acute kidney injury. At least one acute hypertensive episode occurred in 42.6 % (69/162) of patients. A total of 10.5 % patients developed the composite endpoint, 17.4 % in the acute hypertensive episode group compared to 5.4 % in the non-hypertensive group, p = 0.012. Patients in the acute hypertensive group were more likely to require an intensive care unit admission compared to the non-hypertensive group (33.3 versus 14.0 %, p = 0.004). Of the 17 patients who developed an acute hypertensive episode and met the primary endpoint, 10 were on home antihypertensive medications. Of those, four were restarted on all medications initially, three on some, two were started on new medications, and one was not resumed on home medications. Development of acute hypertensive episode(s) in older trauma patients was associated with an increase in the composite endpoint. Prospective studies are needed.