Mnemonic Monday: Provocative Pathophysiology – Factors that Provoke HTN

By Molly Lewis

This mnemonic comes courtesy of a follower: Isaac Dodd (Howard University College of Medicine, MS2) – thank you so much for your contribution!

Here’s a way to remember what increases the tone of arterioles, therefore increasing peripheral vascular resistance (PVR), and therefore increasing diastolic blood pressure (DBP).

Provocative Pathophysiology- Factors that Provoke HTNVOCCCATIIVES

  • VasOConstrictors:
  • Catecholamines, Calcium
  • ATII = AngioTensin II
  • Vasopressin
  • Endothelin
  • Sodium

-also, remember RAAS (Renin, Angiotensin II, and the mineralocorticoid Aldosterone System)- when activated, it increases total body sodium

The first three letters remind you what these factors do (VasOConstrict), and the rest of the letters remind you of the factors themselves.

Excess of these factors can contribute to both essential hypertension (HTN), as well as secondary HTN.

This mnemonic is powerful. It doesn’t just help you remember pathophysiology – it boosts your understanding of pharmacology, too! Drugs that inhibit the action of these factors can decrease blood pressure.

***Bonus tip: don’t just memorize this pathophysiology for Step 1 and forget it. Mnemonics like this are hugely helpful on rounds as a 3rd/4th year, too. Answering your attending’s questions out of the blue is so much more difficult than choosing between answers supplied for you in a multiple-choice question. Mnemonics help you think clearly and articulate what you know instead of freezing under pressure!***

Stay tuned for another mnemonic from our friend Isaac: the risk factors for primary hypertension!

Do you have a mnemonic you love and want to share with the world? Post it below or email it to me at– it may just become part of a post!



  • Mnemonic: + Rapid Review Pathology, 4/e, by Edward J. Goljan – p. 236


5 thoughts on “Mnemonic Monday: Provocative Pathophysiology – Factors that Provoke HTN”

  1. Mnemonic for carpal bones from lateral to medial “She Looks Too Pretty Try To Catch Her”

  2. Thanks for the mnemonic! (I especially since I’m going into ortho!). I’ll be sure to put it into a future post!

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