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Thoughts From A Clinician

The New Normal

The American Heart Association has recently released their guidelines on the new normal for blood pressure.  According to the new guidelines anyone who has a blood pressure that is 130/80 is considered to have Stage one hypertension.  What does this mean?  Does this mean more patients will be placed on daily blood pressure medications?  What about our treatment guidelines for patients with “high blood pressure?”  These are all questions that I am sure most providers have asked themselves since the latest release of the AHA guidelines.  Most providers will not change their guidelines with what is in place, however, let’s look at how to approach this new normal. 






            First and foremost always follow your local protocols, procedures, and guidelines concerning your practices.  Second, what is the reason for the patient presenting with high blood pressure?  This is a question that has to be considered before any treatment can be rendered.  Most patients in the United States who are on daily antihypertensives have greater than stage one hypertension chronically.  Will changing their body’s normal level be detrimental?  This is an ongoing debate and continues to be strongly debated over many specialties in medicine.  Even in EMS there has been a debate about when to treat hypertension or even if we should treat it. 

            Before we get too excited about these new guidelines let’s look at the big picture.  The American Heart Association is looking at prevention and management of hypertension.  This process is a long and arduous one at best.  For field providers it will likely mean an increase in patients that we see on medication for blood pressure.  These new guidelines will most likely not change our approach to hypertensive crisis, however, we should take them for what they are worth.  As in every change in medicine, take this one in stride and look at to the bigger picture.  Thanks for reading, be safe out there and always remember to think like a clinician.




Klint Kloepping is a US trained Critical Care Paramedic and Flight Paramedic. He is currently pursuing a Baccalaureate degree in EMS management.  Klint works as a Flight Paramedic in the Midwest, USA.  Klint is also an EMS Instructor.   

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Thoughts from another clinician!- Mike

Interesting times we live in, huh? We all know how slow the wheels of change come. Even with FOAMED….my guess is, while Klint’s post is timely, I’m betting it will be awhile until we start seeing these numbers affect the patients we care for.

*Note. This post was submitted the day after the announcement for these changes were made. Thanks for being on top of things, Klint!







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