Florida Public Health Review


Publication Date

August 2008


Although essential hypertension (EHT) tends to coexist with other conditions, few studies have focused on comorbidities and symptoms among patients admitted to emergency departments (ED). The objective was to compare the characteristics, comorbidities and symptoms among patients with three types (unspecified, benign, or malignant) of EHT in Florida. A public use data set of ED patients from the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) from 2005 was used. Records included those with primary diagnosis of three types of EHT based on the International Classification of Diseases, 9th edition (ICD-9) code. Group comparisons were made using Chi square tests and linear regression models. Of 34,625 records, 96.3%, 2.0%, and 1.7% of them had unspecified, benign and malignant EHT, respectively. Types of EHT varied significantly (p < .05) by race/ethnicity, age group, health insurance status, discharge status, and length of stay. The most common secondary diagnoses included diabetes, abnormal lipid metabolism, hypokalemia, and anemia. Whereas diabetes without complication was the most common comorbidity of unspecified (10.7%) and malignant (12.6%) hypertensive patients, abnormal lipid metabolism was the most common co-morbidity of benign (20.0%) hypertensive patients. The most frequent symptom in all three groups was headache. About 60.0% (malignant), 34.6% (unspecified), and 4.2% (benign) of patients’ main reason for ED visit were not related to their principal diagnosis. Variation in factors contributing to comorbidities between three types of EHT should be further explored.