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Correctly Diagnosing High BP In Children: Help Needed!

Child Having His Blood Pressure Measured

(Update 6/10/15: The video referenced in this article is no longer available)

We recently came across a video report that originally appeared shortly after an article on the underdiagnosis of hypertension in children and adolescents was published in the August 2008 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The focal point of the report was the fact that 3 out of every 4 children who have high blood pressure have not been correctly diagnosed with the condition. This certainly would prompt the question “Why not?”

One reason is that what is considered “normal” BP for children is not nearly as straightforward as it is for adults. The customary 140/90 threshold for normal adult systolic and diastolic levels simply does not apply. Recent research has helped to establish what should be considered a child’s “normal” BP, however, this varies from child to child based on their gender, age and height. With these moving targets, it can get complicated for pediatricians to determine which children have an abnormally high BP. In closing, the report points out how this is a perfect example of where new software tools can help pediatricians more easily identify abnormal BP in their pediatric patients. This was of particular interest to us at SunTech Medical as we recently incorporated the American Heart Associations’s (AHA) published guidelines for ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) in children and adolescents into our AccuWin Pro v3 ABPM software to help pediatricians make an appropriate diagnosis from a 24 hour ABPM study.

We invite you to view the full video report above and to leave your comments on how we may be able to further aid the correct diagnosis of hypertension in the pediatric population.


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