Asymptomatic Hypertension in the Emergency Department: A Matter of Critical Public Health Importance

Authors

  • Phillip D. Levy MD, MPH,

    1. From the Department of Emergency Medicine, Wayne State University (PDL), Detroit, MI; and the Department of Emergency Medicine, Wake Forest University (DC), Winston-Salem, NC
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  • David Cline MD

    1. From the Department of Emergency Medicine, Wayne State University (PDL), Detroit, MI; and the Department of Emergency Medicine, Wake Forest University (DC), Winston-Salem, NC
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Address for correspondence and reprints: Phillip Levy, MD, MPH; plevy@med.wayne.edu.

Abstract

Asymptomatic hypertension (HTN) is commonly encountered in the emergency department (ED), but in most circumstances little is done about it. While many factors may contribute to this, the failure to recognize asymptomatic HTN as a public health problem is particularly important. Given the established long-term consequences of elevated blood pressure (BP), a reconsideration of methods that could enhance surveillance and intervention in the ED is needed. In this article, we discuss the relevant epidemiology of asymptomatic HTN and present a novel approach using a modified version of the Haddon’s matrix to systematically address the challenges that contribute to ineffective screening and suboptimal outcomes.

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