Hypertensive crisis, defined as an increase in systolic blood pressure >179 mmHg or diastolic blood pressure >109 mmHg, typically causes end-organ damage; the brain is an elective and early target, among others. The strong relationship between arterial hypertension and cerebrovascular diseases is supported by extensive evidence, with hypertension being the main modifiable risk factor for both ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke, especially when it is uncontrolled or rapidly increasing. However, despite the large amount of data on the preventive strategies and therapeutic measures that can be adopted, the management of high BP in patients with acute cerebrovascular diseases presenting at the emergency department is still an area of debate. Overall, the outcome of stroke patients with high blood pressure values basically depends on the occurrence of hypertensive emergency or hypertensive urgency, the treatment regimen adopted, the drug dosages and their timing, and certain stroke features. In this narrative review, we provide a timely update on the current treatment, debated issues, and future directions related to hypertensive crisis in patients referred to the emergency department because of an acute cerebrovascular event. This will also focus greater attention on the management of certain stroke-related, time-dependent interventions, such as intravenous thrombolysis and mechanic thrombectomy.
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