Why Pediatricians Fail to Diagnose Hypertension: A Multicenter Survey

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To elucidate why pediatricians fail to diagnose childhood hypertension, with special emphasis on the use of blood pressure (BP) reference data. We hypothesized that pediatricians frequently omit BP measurements and do not routinely relate BP measurements to reference data. We conducted a multicenter survey on BP measurement among 197 participants. Respondents were asked to estimate BP percentiles and classify BP readings in 12 example cases. Questionnaires were completed onsite in the presence of the researchers, without access to BP reference data. We found that 71% of physicians measure BP during ambulatory visits only if the child has risk factors for hypertension. After measuring BP, 65% compare the reading with reference data only if they suspect that it is elevated. Their ability to rate a reading at its true value is limited, however; 47% of the physicians classified 1 or more of the prehypertensive or hypertensive cases as normal. Most pediatricians do not screen for hypertension, contrary to recommendations. After obtaining a BP measurement, the majority do not compare the reading with reference standards; however, without the use of reference data, they commonly underestimate the BP percentile and potentially miss cases of childhood hypertension
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)173-177
JournalJournal of pediatrics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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