(HealthDay News) – The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force notes that there is insufficient evidence to indicate that hypertension screening in children and adolescents reduces adverse cardiovascular outcomes in adults. This Recommendation Statement is based on an evidence review published online Feb. 25 in Pediatrics.

Matthew Thompson, MD, MPH, DPhil, from the Oregon Evidence-Based Practice Center in Portland, and colleagues conducted a systematic review of 34 studies to examine the effectiveness of screening asymptomatic children and teenagers for hypertension to prevent cardiovascular disease.

The researchers found that none of the studies assessed the effect of screening for hypertension on health outcomes. There were moderate sensitivities and specificities in two studies of screening tests for elevated blood pressure. The specificities and sensitivities of child hypertension were wide ranging for the later presence of adult hypertension. Inconsistent evidence was found for the correlation between child hypertension and carotid intima media thickening and proteinuria in young adults. Over short-term follow-up, drug interventions lowered blood pressure in adolescents. The draft Recommendation Statement is available for comment from Feb. 25–March 26, 2013.

“The Task Force calls on the research community to prioritize studies on screening and treatment of high blood pressure in children and teens and on the impact such interventions may have on cardiovascular health as these children and teens become adults,” Task Force member Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, MD, PhD, said in a statement. “Investments in such research may lead to improved cardiovascular health for Americans and to a definitive recommendation from the Task Force in the future.”

Draft Recommendation Statement
Comment on Recommendations
Background Review