TUESDAY, April 21, 2020 (HealthDay News) — The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) concludes that there is currently insufficient evidence to evaluate the balance of benefits and harms of screening children and adolescents for high blood pressure. These findings form the basis of a draft recommendation statement, published April 21 by the USPSTF.

Gerald Gartlehner, M.D., M.P.H., from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Evidence-Based Practice Center in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, and colleagues reviewed evidence about screening for high blood pressure in children or adolescents. Data were included for 42 studies (43 publications). The researchers found that none of the studies directly assessed health benefits or harms of screening. Furthermore, no studies assessed the impact of effective treatment of abnormal blood pressure during childhood on hypertension or other intermediate outcomes during adulthood. Studies consistently reported associations between abnormal blood pressure in childhood and abnormal blood pressure in adulthood, although there was considerable heterogeneity.

Based on these findings, the USPSTF concludes that there is currently insufficient evidence to weigh the balance of benefits and harms of blood pressure screening in children and adolescents (I statement). The draft recommendation and evidence review have been posted for public comment; comments can be submitted from April 21 to May 18, 2020.

“We know that children and teens who have high blood pressure are more likely to have it as adults. However, more research is needed on whether early identification and lowering of blood pressure in youth leads to improved cardiovascular health in youth or adults,” task force member Martha Kubik, Ph.D., R.N., said in a statement.

Draft Evidence Review
Draft Recommendation Statement
Comment on Recommendation Statement

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