Hypertensive emergencies (HE) and urgencies (HU) are frequent causes of patients referral to Emergency Department (ED) and the approach may be different according to local clinical practice. Our aim was to explore awareness, management, treatment and counselling after discharge of HE and HU in Italy, by mean of an on-line survey. The young investigator research group of the Italian Society of Hypertension developed a 23-item questionnaire spread by e-mail invitation to the members of Italian Scientific societies in the field of Hypertension. 665 questionnaires were collected from EDs, Emergency and Urgency Medicine, Cardiology or Coronary Units, Internal Medicines, Intensive care, Stroke units. Symptoms considered suspicious of acute organ damage were: chest pain (89.0%), visual disturbances (89.8%), dyspnoea (82.7%), headache (82.1%), dizziness (52.0%), conjunctival haemorrhages (41.5%), tinnitus (38.2%) and epistaxis (34.4%). Exams more frequent prescribed were: electrocardiogram (97.2%), serum creatinine (91.4%), markers of cardiomyocyte necrosis (66.2%), echocardiography (65.1%). The use of intravenous or oral medications to treat HEs was 94.7% and 3.5%, while for HUs 24.4% and 70.8% respectively. Of note, a surprisingly high percentage of physicians (22 % overall, 24.5% in North Italy) used to prescribe sublingual nifedipine. After discharge, home blood pressure monitoring and general practitioner re-evaluation were more frequently suggested, while ambulatory blood pressure monitoring and hypertension specialist examination were less prescribed. The differences observed across the different macro-areas, regarded prescription of diagnostic test and drug administration. This survey depicts a complex situation of shades and lights in the real-life management of HE and HU in Italy.
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