How is hypertension diagnosed in preeclampsia?

Updated: Nov 29, 2018
  • Author: Kee-Hak Lim, MD; Chief Editor: Ronald M Ramus, MD  more...
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Hypertension is diagnosed when two BP readings of 140/90 mm Hg or greater are noted 4 hours apart within a 1-week period. Measuring BP with an appropriate-sized cuff placed on the right arm at the same level as the heart is important. The patient must be sitting and, ideally, have had a chance to rest for at least 10 minutes before the BP measurement. She should not be lying down in a lateral decubitus position, as the arm often used to measure the pressure in this position will be above the right atrium.

The Korotkoff V sound should be used for the diastolic pressure. In cases in which the Korotkoff V sound is not present, the Korotkoff IV sound may be used, but it should be noted as such. The difference between the Korotkoff IV and V sounds may be as much as 10 mm Hg. When an automated cuff is used, it must be able to record the Korotkoff V sound. When serial readings are obtained during an observational period, the higher values should be used to make the diagnosis.

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