Home Health & Hospice

Insider’s scoop | Hypotension may be a symptom of heart failure

Homecare Insider, February 8, 2016

Editor's note: This week’s Insider’s scoop/Inside story is from Home Health Aide On-the-Go In-service Series, Volume 15. This vital resource packs 12 informative, one-hour in-service training lessons into one volume, addressing timely topics that are crucial to homecare. The book also provides comprehensive and easy-to-understand training lessons for group classroom settings or self-study. Click here for more information. 

Hypotension is low blood pressure—or blood pressure readings of 90 or less systolic and 60 or less diastolic. If a patient suffers from hypotension, the heart might be working harder to send enough blood and oxygen through the body, causing a high pulse rate. Hypotension may be caused by dehydration, or by serious medical or surgical disorders, including congestive heart failure. Hypotension may cause dizziness and fainting, which may result in other injuries.

Low blood pressure should be reported to the nurse and monitored carefully and frequently. Many nursing experts consider hypotension to be 100/60 or below. They require reporting if the blood pressure is lower than this. Make sure you know the guidelines for your agency.

Hypotension can be treated. However, for accurate treatment, the physician must identify the cause. Reviewing the nursing record of blood pressure and pulse values is important to this identification. It is helpful to know what the person’s activity level was when blood pressure was taken.