Fourteen hypertensive patients hospitalized in a paediatric intensive care unit were studied to evaluate safety and hypotensive efficacy of intravenous nicardipine. Systolic and diastolic blood pressure significantly decreased 1 h after the beginning of the treatment (1 microgram/kg per minute). Mean decrease in systolic blood pressure during the first 24 h was between 9.9% and 13.4% of the initial value. Mean lowering of diastolic blood pressure was between 16.7% and 25.6%. Nicardipine did not significantly affect heart rate with dose of 1 microgram/kg per minute. No clinical side-effects were observed. Nicardipine could be a first line drug for the treatment of hypertension in paediatric intensive care units.