The Rising Prevalence of Pediatric Hypertension
Pediatric hypertension-related hospitalizations in the United States have nearly doubled, from 12,661 in 1997 to 24,602 in 2006, according to a new study published in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension.
For the study, researchers analyzed records from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Kids’ Inpatient Database from 1997, 2000, 2003, and 2006 to evaluate the health care utilization of hospitalized children with hypertension.
Cheryl Tran, MD, of CS Mott Children’s Hospital, and colleagues found that both the frequency and charges for pediatric hypertension—associated hospitalizations increased from 1997 to 2006. The total charges for hypertensionassociated hospitalizations were an estimated $3.1 billion, with mean hospitalization charges increasing by 50%.
The researchers also found a higher frequency of hypertension discharges in children aged 10 to 18 years compared with kids aged 2 to 9 years. They speculate that the higher prevalence of hypertension seen in the older group of children is a result of the rise in adolescent obesity throughout the 10-year study period.
In an accompanying editorial, Joshua Samuels, MD, noted that the study dispels the myth that hypertension is an adult disease with no real relevance to pediatric populations.
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