Hypertension is highly prevalent affecting nearly one third of the US adult population. Though generally approached as an outpatient disorder, elevated blood pressure is observed in a majority of hospitalized patients. The spectrum of hypertensive disease ranges from patients with hypertensive emergency including markedly elevated blood pressure and associated end-organ damage to asymptomatic patients with minimally elevated pressures of unclear significance. It is important to note that current evidence-based hypertension guidelines do not specifically address inpatient hypertension. This narrative review focuses primarily on best practices for diagnosing and managing nonemergent hypertension in the inpatient setting. We describe examples of common hypertensive syndromes, provide suggestions for optimal post-acute management, and point to evidence-based or consensus guidelines where available. In addition, we describe a practical approach to managing asymptomatic elevated blood pressure observed in the inpatient setting. Finally, arranging effective care transitions to ensure optimal ongoing hypertension management is appropriate in all cases.
Keywords: Cardiovascular disease; Hospitalization; Hypertension; Hypertensive emergency.