Patterns of antihypertensive treatment in patients with acute severe hypertension from a nonneurologic cause: Studying the Treatment of Acute Hypertension (STAT) registry

UMMS Affiliation

Center for Outcomes Research



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Medical Subject Headings

Acute Disease; Administration, Oral; Adult; Aged; Antihypertensive Agents; Blood Pressure; Cross-Sectional Studies; Drug Therapy, Combination; Female; Hospitalization; Humans; Hypertension; Infusions, Intravenous; Male; Middle Aged; Physician's Practice Patterns; Prospective Studies; Registries; Retrospective Studies; Severity of Illness Index; United States


Cardiovascular Diseases | Health Services Research



To assess antihypertensive treatment practices and outcomes for patients with acute severe hypertension requiring hospitalization.


Subanalysis of a multicenter, observational, cross-sectional study.


The STAT registry (data from 25 hospitals).


A total of 1184 consecutive adults with acute severe hypertension (systolic blood pressure [SBP] ≥ 180 mm Hg, diastolic blood pressure ≥ 110 mm Hg), without a neurologic reason for admission, receiving two or more intermittent intravenous antihypertensive doses or a continuous intravenous infusion within 24 hours of hospitalization.


Patients started intravenous antihypertensive therapy 1.3 (median [interquartile range (IQR) 0.5-3.2]) hours after the qualifying SBP (median 204 [IQR 190-221] mm Hg). Labetalol (27%), metoprolol (21%), and nitroglycerin (20%) were the most frequent initial intravenous choices. For the 43% of patients administered two or more intravenous agents sequentially, the 24% receiving three or more, and the 8% receiving four or more, median SBPs at the time of the second, third, and fourth additions were 186 (IQR 168-211), 176 (IQR 152-196), and 164 (IQR 143-193) mm Hg, respectively. Most common continuous intravenous infusions were nitroglycerin (30%), nicardipine (13%), and labetalol (7%). After the first intravenous agent, an SBP decrease of 10-25% was achieved at 1 and 6 hours in 48% and 72%, respectively. Of the 6% without at least a 10% decrease in SBP during the entire hospitalization, labetalol (28%), hydralazine (21%), and metoprolol (17%) were the most frequent initial intravenous choices. Hypotension (SBP ≤ 90 mm Hg) occurred in 5% and was most common with intravenous nitroglycerin (39%). Oral antihypertensives were started within 1 and 6 hours after the first intravenous therapy in 13% and 34% of patients, respectively, with many patients (61%) receiving three or more oral agents during hospitalization.


Pharmacologic treatment of acute severe hypertension in patients with nonneurologic causes is heterogeneous and often not consistent with Joint National Committee recommendations. Patients received numerous intravenous agents, experienced variable decreases in SBP, often failed to receive timely oral therapy, and a clinically relevant proportion developed hypotension.

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Citation: Pharmacotherapy. 2010 Nov;30(11):1087-96. Link to article on publisher's site

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