UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Vascular

Title: Follow-up for the Hypertensive Patient

Keywords: Hypertensive (PubMed Search)

Posted: 3/10/2009 by Rob Rogers, MD (Updated: 10/18/2019)
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Follow-up for the Hypertensive Patient

We see hypertensive patients every day, every shift. And, we discharge many of them. So, when do you get them follow-up?

The JNC-7 recommends that patients with BPs > 180/110 mm Hg have follow-up within 7 days. Like most of the HTN recommendations in the primary care setting, this recommendation is based on a "smart person" concensus....and no data.

This is a tremendous issue for us in the ED, because we don't want to see a bad outcome in our discharged hypertensive patients.

Some pearls regarding discharging the very hypertensive (but asymtomatic) patient:

  • Since there isn't any realy data on follow-up, it would be wise to use caution and have very high BPs checked the next day and to NOT wait a week.
  • Discharge instructions should note when/where (if you have to...use the ED as a recheck) the patient is to follow-up
  • ALWAYS warn patients about what can/will happen if they don't seek follow-up: MI, stroke, renal failure/need for dialysis, death, and disability and write this in the chart. The last thing you want to hear is that the patient went on to develop renal failure/stroke, etc. and that they claim they were not warned about what could happen.
  • When it is possible, contact the patient's doctor to discuss management