Malignant Hypertension: Definition, Symptoms, Tests and Treatment

This is a severe condition that requires immediate attention.

Rapid treatment can prevent long-term problems. Without treatment, the damage of malignant hypertension occurs rapidly and can be severe organ damage, involving blood vessels, eyes, heart, spleen, kidneys, and brain.

A more technical term for this type of hypertension is malignant hypertensive.

In particular, you can develop kidney failure because the blood vessels in the kidneys are susceptible to high blood pressure.

In addition to having high blood pressure and ailments, the development of malignant hypertension includes:

  • History of renal disorders or insufficiency.
  • Certain drugs or medications, including cocaine, amphetamines, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), and oral contraceptives.
  • History of vascular diseases.
  • Pregnant women with preeclampsia and eclampsia.
  • Feocromocitoma.
  • Disorders of the spinal cord.
  • Coarctation or dissection of the aorta.
  • Stenosis of the renal artery or narrowing of the streets of the kidneys.
  • Missing doses of prescribed antihypertensive medications, especially beta-blockers or clonidine, can cause a rebound effect. Breach of drugs is the most common reason for hypertensive emergencies.

The malignant hypertensive is more common in African American men and smokers. You are more likely to develop malignant hypertension if you already have essential hypertension and high blood pressure of 140/90 or more.

The notable symptoms of this disease are:

  • Chest pain.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Headache.
  • Visual problems.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Numbness/weakness of the legs, arms, and face.

In particular, malignant hypertension can lead to a condition called hypertensive encephalopathy. Symptoms of this condition include headache, vomiting, blurred vision with papilledema, and mental changes such as anxiety, confusion, tiredness, and seizures.

If you experience any of the above symptoms, do not assume it is due to malignant hypertension. These symptoms can be caused by other health conditions, including a heart attack or other less severe disorders. If you experience any of them, consult your doctor.


This disease will be diagnosed according to a series of questions that the doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical examination will be performed; your blood pressure readings will probably be very high, and lessons will be taken in both arms while lying down and standing. A careful examination of your heart and a detailed neurological examination will be performed. An eye exam can show signs of high blood pressure, including inflammation of the optic nerve or bleeding inside the eye.

The tests may include the following:

  • Blood and urine tests.
  • Chest x-ray.
  • Echocardiogram or ultrasound of the heart in search of heart damage.
  • EKG to watch the electrical functioning of the heart.
  • Duplex or renal ultrasound tests the kidneys arteries to look for an obstruction.

Treatment for malignant hypertension

For the treatment of said disease, there are several options, including the following:

Specific medication medications – that of high blood pressure IV will be chosen based on your particular situation, including if you are suffering from damage to the kidneys or other organs. Possible medications may include:

• Sodium nitroprusside or nitroglycerin.

• Beta-blockers.

• Hydralazine.

• Labetalol.

• Vasotec and ACE inhibitor.

• Oral medications for hypertension when blood pressure has been reduced from dangerous levels.

• Dialysis.

To help reduce the likelihood of developing malignant hypertension, the following should be taken into account:

  • Check your blood pressure levels frequently.
  • Report any sustained hypertension to your health care provider.