DENVER, Colo. -- Children who have a first elevated blood pressure at the doctor's office are not likely to receive the recommended follow-up blood pressure readings within a month, according to a study published today in Pediatrics. However, when the blood pressure was later repeated, most children's blood pressure returned to normal for their age, sex and height.
Authors of the study examined the electronic health records of 72,625 children and adolescents ages 3 to 17 over a three-year period at Kaiser Permanente in Colorado and Northern California, and HealthPartners of Minnesota who received blood pressure checks as part of their routine clinical care. While 8.4 percent of children in the study had at least one visit with elevated blood pressure, only 20.9 percent of those children received another blood pressure screening within a month. Of those with one elevated blood pressure reading, only 1.4 percent went on to develop childhood hypertension, defined as three consecutive high blood pressure readings on three separate days.
"Diagnosing hypertension during childhood is difficult because normal blood pressure for children changes as they age. It's fairly common for children to have a single elevated blood pressure reading, but when their doctors repeat the test, it appears that most children won't actually have hypertension," said Matthew F. Daley, MD, a researcher at the Institute for Health Research, Kaiser Permanente Colorado. "This tells us that parents should have their children's blood pressure checked and, if it's high, rechecked at the same visit."
The researchers also found that factors such as obesity (which is associated with hypertension) or stage 2 hypertension did not significantly affect whether children received follow-up blood pressure checks within a month of a first elevated blood pressure.
Hypertension is a chronic medical condition characterized by elevated blood pressure in the circulator
|Contact: Catherine Hylas Saunders|