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Updated Recommendations on Youth Blood Pressure Screening

Evidence insufficient to decide for or against routine screening (October 7)

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has found insufficient evidence to recommend for or against routine screening for primary hypertension in asymptomatic children and adolescents. Hypertension in children and adolescents has increased over the past several decades, which may be attributable to the climb in childhood overweight and obesity rates.

An estimated 11% of obese children in the U.S. have hypertension, putting them at increased risk for hypertension in adulthood.

One rationale for screening young patients is that it could lead to interventions that reduce blood pressure and reduce the risk for cardiovascular events and death in adulthood. However, there might also be harms associated with early treatment. A review of evidence published since the Task Force’s 2003 recommendation found insufficient evidence to draw conclusions about the balance of the benefits and harms of screening.

The full recommendation statement will be published in the Annals of Internal Medicine and in Pediatrics.

Source: Medical Xpress; October 7, 2013.

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