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New Blood Pressure Guidelines for Children

Female doctor measuring blood pressure of a child patient using the pressure sleeve and her stethoscope

Measuring children’s blood pressure has been a challenge for doctor’s and pediatricians, and the guidelines unclear and confusing. 

“Now, the new guidelines provide a short, easy-to-use table based only on a child’s gender and age, from 3 to 18, that doctors can readily consult and even hang in the office where they and parents can see it.”

“Study after study has demonstrated that elevated blood pressure is correctly diagnosed in less than one-quarter of the children who have it. For example, the largest study, published last year in the journal Pediatrics, covered more than 1.2 million patients ages 3 to 18. Electronic health records showed that 398,079 had their blood pressure measured at three or more visits. Of these, readings in 12,138 children met the criteria for hypertension and 38,874 for pre-hypertension (now called elevated blood pressure). But only 23.2 percent with hypertension and 10.2 percent with pre-hypertension were diagnosed as such and duly noted for follow-up in their health records.”

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