(HealthDay News) – Guideline-recommended diagnostic echocardiograms and renal ultrasonography are poorly utilized in Medicaid-eligible adolescents with essential hypertension.

Esther Y Yoon, MD, MPH, from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues analyzed administrative claims data from the Michigan Medicaid program for use of echocardiogram, electrocardiogram (EKG), and renal ultrasonography among 951 adolescents who had a diagnosis of essential hypertension and one or more antihypertensive medication pharmacy claims during 2003–2008.

The researchers found that 24% of adolescents had echocardiograms, 22% had renal ultrasonography, and 50% had EKGs. The likelihood of obtaining an electrocardiogram was higher for males vs. females (odds ratio [OR], 1.53), younger vs. older adolescents (OR, 1.69), and those who had EKGs (OR, 5.79) or renal ultrasonography (OR, 2.22) vs. those who did not.

“Guideline-recommended diagnostic tests — echocardiograms and renal ultrasonography — were equally poorly used by adolescents with essential hypertension,” the authors write. “The decision and choice of diagnostic tests to evaluate adolescents with essential hypertension warrant further study to understand the underlying rationale for those decisions and to determine treatment effectiveness.”

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