Definition of Hypertensive Encephalopathy

In this article, we will discuss the Definition of Hypertensive Encephalopathy. So, let’s get started.

Definition

Hypertensive encephalopathy is defined as sudden, marked rise in blood pressure with encephalopathic features, i.e. headache, vomiting, visual disturbances, transient paralysis, convulsions, stupor and coma. These manifestations have been attributed to spasm of cerebral vessels and to cerebral edema.

The pathophysiological basis of hypertensive crisis is loss of autoregulation on the vascular beds (cerebral, cardiac, renal) with the result they are not able to constrict appropriately to maintain perfusion. This leads to ischemia and tissue damage. This forms the basis that BP should be lowered as early as possible (within minutes or hours) with parenteral drugs during hypertensive emergency so as to restore autoregulation. The blood pressure should not be drastically reduced to normal because it can give rise to serious consequences, hence, should be kept near normal rather than normal.

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