Acute-onset, severe systolic or diastolic hypertension can occur during
pregnancy or in the postpartum period. The American College of Obstetricians and
Gynecologists Taskforce on Hypertension during pregnancy recently modified the
diagnosis and management of hypertension, describing a hypertensive emergency in
pregnancy as persistent (≥ 15 min), acute-onset, severe hypertension, defined as a
systolic blood pressure ≥ 160 mmHg or diastolic blood pressure ≥ 110 mmHg.
Pregnancy can be complicated by a hypertensive emergency with a lower blood
pressure threshold for end-organ damage than non-pregnant patients. Labetalol,
hydralazine and nifedipine are all considered first-line anti-hypertensive agents for
the treatment of severe hypertension. The objective of this article is to review the
current understanding, diagnosis and management of a hypertensive emergency during pregnancy or
Keywords: Anti-hypertensive, hypertension, hypertensive crisis, hypertensive emergency, pre-eclampsia, pregnancy.
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