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High blood pressure easy to miss in children with kidney disease
Date:11/20/2009

Spot blood pressure readings in children with chronic kidney disease often fail to detect hypertension even during doctor's office visits increasing a child's risk for serious heart problems, according to research from Johns Hopkins Children's Center and other institutions. A report of the findings appears online in the Journal of American Society of Nephrology.

Researchers compared blood pressure measurements obtained during regular doctor visits to readings obtained via a special device the children wore at home that automatically recorded their blood pressure every 20 minutes.

Of the 198 children in the study, nearly 40 percent had "masked" hypertension, meaning their blood pressure was normal at the doctor's office, but spiked outside of it.

An even more disturbing finding: Children with masked hypertension were four times more likely to have a form of hypertension-related heart damage called left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) than children with normal blood pressure, researchers report. LVH is a common consequence of untreated hypertension that results in a thickening of the left chamber of the heart and that over time can lead to heart failure and heart rhythm disturbances.

"Taking blood pressure at the doctor's office clearly misses many cases of masked hypertension," says Susan Furth, M.D., Ph.D., a pediatric nephrologist at Hopkins Children's and one of the study's principal investigators. "This means children with chronic kidney disease should have their blood pressure taken at home several times a day and regularly reported to their doctors." An overnight monitor, like the one used in the study, that automatically takes a child's blood pressure every 20 minutes is great, but some insurance companies won't pay for it, investigators say.

"Our findings are a sobering reminder of something we have long known: Blood pressure changes constantly throughout the day," says study lead author Mark Mitsnefes,
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Contact: Ekaterina Pesheva
epeshev1@jhmi.edu
410-516-4996
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Source:Eurekalert

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