Authors: Abbas Alshami, Johanan Luna, America Avila, Salim Surani, Joseph Varon
Purpose: Hypertension remains a common cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, and proper management can prevent death. Over the last few decades, several changes in definitions, clinical manifestations, and management have occurred. We aimed to investigate the extent of knowledge about these changes, as the pertain to acute elevations of blood pressure among physicians in Southeast Asia.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey was created and validated. The survey included 25 questions about the definitions of hypertensive urgencies and emergencies, clinical presentations, ideal rate of blood pressure reduction, and other questions. Surveys were distributed at the Asia Pacific Symposium held in Indonesia in August 2017. Descriptive analysis was conducted using IBM SPSS Statistics™ version 25.0 (IBM Corporation, Armonk, NY).
Results: A total of 145 surveys were completed by physicians from India, Indonesia, South Korea, Philippines, Singapore, and Sri Lanka. Of them, only 49.6% (n=72) knew the normal blood pressure cut-off limits, and 19.3% (n=28) did not recognize the differences between hypertensive urgencies and emergencies. Moreover, 53.7% (n=78) of respondents was not aware that hypertensive urgency can be completely asymptomatic. Sixty-four point eight percent (n=94) indicated that acute cerebrovascular accidents were the most common end-organ damage from hypertensive emergencies. In addition, only 44.1% (n=64) were aware of the ideal rate of blood pressure reduction, and 50.3% (n=73) considered sublingual nifedipine as an appropriate choice in hypertensive crisis management.
Conclusions: A significant percentage of physicians in Southeast Asia lack knowledge about hypertensive crisis definitions, clinical presentations, and management.