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Emergency department control of blood pressure in intracerebral hemorrhage.

BACKGROUND: Early treatment of elevated blood pressure (BP) in patients presenting with spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) may decrease hematoma enlargement and lead to better neurologic outcome.

STUDY OBJECTIVE: To determine whether early BP control in patients with spontaneous ICH is both feasible and tolerated when initiated in the Emergency Department (ED).

METHODS: A single-center, prospective observational study in patients with spontaneous ICH was performed to evaluate a protocol to lower, and maintain for 24 h, the mean arterial pressure (MAP) to a range of 100-110 mm Hg within 120 min of arrival to the ED. An additional goal of placing a functional arterial line within 90 min was specified in our protocol. Hematoma volume, neurologic disability, adverse events, and in-hospital mortality were recorded.

RESULTS: A total of 22 patients were enrolled over a 1-year study period. The average time to achieve our target MAP after implementation of our protocol was 123 min (range 19-297 min). The average time to arterial line placement was 84 min (range 36-160 min). Overall, 77% of the patients tolerated the 24-h protocol. The in-hospital mortality rate in this group of patients was 41%.

CONCLUSIONS: Adopting a protocol to reduce and maintain the MAP to a target of 100-110 mm Hg within 120 min of ED arrival was safe and well tolerated in patients presenting with spontaneous ICH. If future trials demonstrate a clinical benefit of early BP control in spontaneous ICH, EDs should implement similar protocols.

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