Blood pressure screening for kids
U.S. Task Force recommendation means mxied-messages for parents
There are mixed-messages being sent to parents about getting a child's blood pressure checked. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force says there is not enough evidence to recommend routine blood pressure screenings for kids, if they don't show symptoms of hypertension.
This goes against recommendations from groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Association.
"So, for children that have underlying issues we always check blood pressure, but the question comes for children that are very well and are just coming in for regular checkups or sick visits," said Dr. Emma Raizman, who did not help to put the guidelines together but is a pediatrician at Cleveland Clinic Children's.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation updates its recommendation from 2003, which reached a similar conclusion. Task Force researchers say there is not enough evidence to assess the benefit or harm of routine blood pressure screening in children.
They say their recommendation applies to children and adolescents who do not have symptoms of hypertension. This recommendation is different than recommendations from the AAP, AHA and the National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute, which say regular blood pressure screenings beginning at age three.
Raizman says if parents are unsure they should talk to their child's pediatrician.
"I would say if parents are concerned about blood pressure, if there is a family history of high-blood pressure, or for any reason they're concerned and a pediatrician is not doing the blood pressure, then they can certainly ask for it to be done," advised Raizman.
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