Wide pulse pressure

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Ogheneochuko Ajari, MB.BS, MS [2]


A wide pulse pressure is defined as a difference between the systolic blood pressure and the diastolic blood pressure that exceeds 60 - 70 mm Hg.


Life Threatening Causes

Life-threatening causes include conditions which may result in death or permanent disability within 24 hours if left untreated.

Common Causes

Causes by Organ System

Cardiovascular Abdominal aortic aneurysm, aortic dissection, aortic insufficiency, aortic regurgitation, arteriosclerosis, arteriovenous fistula, artificial pacemaker, atherosclerosis, atrial fibrillation, cardiac arrest, complete heart block, endocarditis, extreme bradycardia, heart murmur, high output cardiac failure, hyperkinetic heart syndrome, hypertension, infective endocarditis, isolated systolic hypertension, mitral valve prolapse, Monckeberg's arteriosclerosis, patent ductus arteriosus, pulmonic regurgitation, sinus bradycardia, ST elevation myocardial infarction, stroke, supraventricular tachycardia, third degree AV block, waterhammer pulse, wet beriberi
Chemical/Poisoning Ethylene
Dental No underlying causes
Dermatologic No underlying causes
Drug Side Effect Benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome, cocaine, maprotiline, nicotine, oxybutynin, oxygen therapy, phenelzine, vasodilators
Ear Nose Throat No underlying causes
Endocrine Diabetes mellitus, Graves disease, growth hormone, polycystic ovary syndrome, thyrotoxicosis
Environmental No underlying causes
Gastroenterologic No underlying causes
Genetic Genetic
Hematologic Anemia
Iatrogenic Anesthesia, laser ablation, mechanical ventilation
Infectious Disease Dengue fever, infective endocarditis
Musculoskeletal/Orthopedic No underlying causes
Neurologic Raised intracranial pressure, stroke, subarachnoid hemorrhage
Nutritional/Metabolic Wet beriberi
Obstetric/Gynecologic Polycystic ovary syndrome, pregnancy
Oncologic No underlying causes
Ophthalmologic No underlying causes
Overdose/Toxicity No underlying causes
Psychiatric Anxiety
Pulmonary No underlying causes
Renal/Electrolyte No underlying causes
Rheumatology/Immunology/Allergy No underlying causes
Sexual No underlying causes
Trauma No underlying causes
Urologic No underlying causes
Miscellaneous Elderly, fever, mechanical ventilation, pyrexia

Causes in Alphabetical Order


Physical Examination


Chronic Aortic Regurgitation

  • Rapid rise and fall
  • Systolic BP of lower limbs >20mmHg than Systolic BP in arms


Chronic Aortic Regurgitation

  • head bobs back and forth with each heartbeat

Laboratory Findings

Suggested Labs

Chest X Ray

MRI and CT

Echocardiography or Ultrasound

Other Imaging Findings


Medical Therapy

  • Treat underlying causes

Acute Pharmacotherapy

Chronic Pharmacotherapies


Chronic aortic regurgitation


Indications for Surgery

Aortic dissection

  • Emergency surgery

Chronic aortic regurgitation

  • Aortic valve replacement
  • Commonly in patients with low EF



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