Meeting News CoveragePerspective

Episodic high BP readings in childhood may predict adult hypertension

Children who had at least one high BP reading are about three times more likely to develop hypertension as adults, researchers reported at the American Heart Association High Blood Pressure Research 2013 Scientific Sessions.

“Occasional high BP readings should not be dismissed and modifiable risk factors should be addressed,” Wanzhu Tu, PhD, professor of biostatistics at Indiana University School of Medicine, and colleagues wrote in a study abstract.

The association between childhood BP and adult hypertension was investigated in a cohort of 1,117 children (528 boys) who lived in Indianapolis. BP readings were taken semiannually by a school nurse or during a doctor’s visit, and the children were followed for 27 years. Mean age at baseline was 12 years and mean age in 2013 was 33 years.

Among the study participants, 119 were diagnosed with high BP as adults. Fifty-nine percent of those with high BP in adulthood were overweight or obese in childhood.

Childhood BP readings were classified by age-, sex- and height-adjusted BP percentile values, with readings exceeding the 95th percentile considered hypertensive. Children with no BP measures exceeding the 95th percentile had an adult hypertension rate of 8.6%; those with one BP measure exceeding the 95th percentile had a rate of 18%; and those with more than one measure exceeding the 95th percentile had a rate of 35%.

After adjustment for age, sex and BMI, the presence of at least one childhood BP measure exceeding the 95th percentile was associated with a three times higher risk for adult hypertension vs. no excessive childhood BP measures (adjusted OR=3.1; 95% CI, 2-4.8).

For more information:

Tu W. Abstract #361. Presented at: the American Heart Association High Blood Pressure Research 2013 Scientific Sessions; Sept. 11-14, 2013; New Orleans.

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.

Children who had at least one high BP reading are about three times more likely to develop hypertension as adults, researchers reported at the American Heart Association High Blood Pressure Research 2013 Scientific Sessions.

“Occasional high BP readings should not be dismissed and modifiable risk factors should be addressed,” Wanzhu Tu, PhD, professor of biostatistics at Indiana University School of Medicine, and colleagues wrote in a study abstract.

The association between childhood BP and adult hypertension was investigated in a cohort of 1,117 children (528 boys) who lived in Indianapolis. BP readings were taken semiannually by a school nurse or during a doctor’s visit, and the children were followed for 27 years. Mean age at baseline was 12 years and mean age in 2013 was 33 years.

Among the study participants, 119 were diagnosed with high BP as adults. Fifty-nine percent of those with high BP in adulthood were overweight or obese in childhood.

Childhood BP readings were classified by age-, sex- and height-adjusted BP percentile values, with readings exceeding the 95th percentile considered hypertensive. Children with no BP measures exceeding the 95th percentile had an adult hypertension rate of 8.6%; those with one BP measure exceeding the 95th percentile had a rate of 18%; and those with more than one measure exceeding the 95th percentile had a rate of 35%.

After adjustment for age, sex and BMI, the presence of at least one childhood BP measure exceeding the 95th percentile was associated with a three times higher risk for adult hypertension vs. no excessive childhood BP measures (adjusted OR=3.1; 95% CI, 2-4.8).

For more information:

Tu W. Abstract #361. Presented at: the American Heart Association High Blood Pressure Research 2013 Scientific Sessions; Sept. 11-14, 2013; New Orleans.

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.

    Perspective
    Stephen Daniels

    Stephen Daniels

    This is an important study and an important result. The abstract emphasizes the importance of elevated BP in childhood as a predictor of hypertension in adulthood. Both obesity and high BP in childhood appear to set up our physiology for later high BP. The clinical point is that we should be measuring BP routinely in childhood to identify those with high BP and treating it when it occurs. This approach is consistent with current guidelines, but is not always implemented in practice.

    • Stephen Daniels, MD, PhD
    • Pediatrician-in-Chief, Children's Hospital Colorado, Aurora, Colo. Chairman, Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado School of Medicine Spokesman, American Heart Association

    Disclosures: Daniels reports no relevant financial disclosures.

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