Hospitalizations for high blood pressure may be on the rise

A physician reviews medical data on a tablet in a hospital.

Hospitalization for extreme cases of high blood pressure is uncommon, but rates have increased in recent years, according to research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.  

Researchers analyzed about 1 million hospitalizations that occurred between 2002-2014 in the U.S. as a result of extreme medical events related to high blood pressure, also referred to as hypertension. Core themes emerged. First, while the number of hospitalizations for hypertensive crises increased, survival rates also improved. Additionally, the researchers found that while men represented a higher portion of patients seeking hospital care for a hypertensive crisis, women experienced similar in-hospital death rates.  

The researchers shared early observations that may help explain these sex-based distinctions. For instance, men are more likely to experience hypertension early in life, but this changes after age 75. At that point about 81% of women and 73% of men older than age 75 have hypertension. One reason may be due to differences in age and survival. Another could be that women experience greater age-related changes in blood pressure. The authors conclude more research is necessary to understand sex-based distinctions in blood pressure-related events, including those that require hospitalization.  

The study was supported by the NHLBI and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.