Cardiovascular Medicine Book

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Hypertension in Children

Aka: Hypertension in Children, Hypertension in Adolescents, Pediatric Hypertension
  1. See Also
    1. Hypertension in Infants
    2. Hypertension
  2. Epidemiology
    1. Prevalence under age 18 years old
      1. Prehypertension: 3.4%
      2. Hypertension: 3.6%
    2. Prevalence of Hypertension or prehypertension in Overweight or obese adolescents
      1. Boys: 30%
      2. Girls: 23-30%
  3. Precautions
    1. Hypertension in Children is underdiagnosed
      1. Only 26% of patients with criteria consistent with Hypertension are formally diagnosed
      2. Hansen (2007) JAMA 298(8): 874-9 [PubMed]
  4. Criteria
    1. See Hypertension Criteria
    2. Routine Blood Pressure screening over age 3 years
  5. Causes
    1. See Hypertension Causes in Children
    2. Renovascular disease is most common cause in children
    3. Features most suggestive of Secondary Hypertension
      1. Hypertension under age 10 years
      2. Stage 2 Hypertension in Children
  6. Risk Factors
    1. Obesity
      1. Increased Body Mass Index
      2. Increased abdominal circumference
    2. Metabolic Syndrome or Diabetes Mellitus
    3. Black ethnicity
    4. Hispanic ethnicity
    5. Snoring or other findings of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
    6. Chronic Kidney Disease
    7. Male gender
    8. Low birth weight
    9. Maternal Tobacco use during pregnancy
    10. Family History
      1. Essential Hypertension
        1. Coronary Artery Disease
        2. Hyperlipidemia
        3. Hypertension
      2. Renovascular disease
        1. Kidney disease
        2. Deafness
      3. Endocrinopathy
        1. Diabetes Mellitus
        2. Thyroid disorder
        3. Adrenal disease
  7. Associated Conditions
    1. Hyperlipidemia
    2. Insulin Resistance
  8. History
    1. See Family History above
    2. See Medication Causes of Hypertension (includes OTC medications and Illicit Drugs)
    3. General
      1. Weight change
      2. Disordered sleep (e.g. Obstructive Sleep Apnea)
    4. Lung
      1. Dyspnea on exertion
    5. Cardiovascular
      1. Chest Pain
      2. Palpitations
    6. Renal
      1. Hematuria
      2. Recurrent Urinary Tract Infection
    7. Extremities
      1. Edema
      2. Joint Pain or swelling
      3. Myalgias
    8. Neurologic
      1. Headaches
    9. Endocrine
      1. Profuse sweating
      2. Hot or cold intollerance
  9. Examination: Secondary Hypertension clues
    1. General
      1. Growth Delay (Chronic Kidney Disease)
      2. Body Mass Index
    2. Eyes
      1. Fundoscopic exam
    3. Throat
      1. Tonsil or adenoid hypertrophy (Sleep Apnea)
    4. Neck
      1. Thyromegaly (Hyperthyroidism)
    5. Cardiovascular
      1. Tachycardia (Hyperthyroidism, Pheochromocytoma)
      2. Blood Pressure in both arms while seated and in one leg while prone (Aortic Coarctation)
    6. Abdomen
      1. Abdominal mass (renal lesion)
      2. Abdominal bruit (Renal Artery Stenosis)
    7. Genitourinary exam
      1. Ambiguous Genitalia (Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia)
    8. Extremities
      1. Cold legs with diminished pulses (Aortic Coarctation)
      2. Joint Swelling (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus)
    9. Skin
      1. Acne Vulgaris, Hirsutism (Cushing's Disease)
      2. Malar Rash (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus)
      3. Profuse sweating (Pheochromocytoma)
    10. Neurologic
      1. Proximal Motor weakness (Hyperaldosteronism)
    11. Endocrine
      1. Truncal Obesity, moon facies (Cushing's Syndrome)
  10. Diagnosis
    1. See Hypertension Criteria
    2. See Blood Pressure for proper technique
    3. Obtain 3 elevated Blood Pressures on different days
    4. Consider Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring (more accurate than clinic Blood Pressures)
  11. Labs
    1. Complete Blood Count
      1. Includes Leukocyte differential and Platelet Count
    2. Chemistry panel
      1. Electrolytes
      2. Serum Glucose (or Hemoglobin A1C)
      3. Blood Urea Nitrogen
      4. Serum Creatinine
      5. Serum Calcium
      6. Serum Phosphorus
      7. Serum Uric Acid
    3. Urine testing
      1. Urinalysis
      2. Urine Drug Screen (if indicated)
      3. Urine Culture
      4. Consider Urine Microalbumin
    4. Endocrine tests
      1. Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH)
      2. Consider 24 hour Urine Cortisol
      3. Consider plasma renin level
      4. Consider 24 hour Urine VMA and metanephrines
    5. Other cardiovascular risk screening
      1. Lipid Profile
    6. Secondary Hypertension Evaluation indications (see endocrine tests above)
      1. Hypertension in age <6 years
      2. Hypertension in age > 6 years old and other risk factors
        1. Not Overweight or obese
        2. No Family HistoryHypertension
        3. Abnormal history or exam
        4. Signs or symptoms or specific Secondary Hypertension
  12. Diagnostics
    1. Electrocardiogram
    2. Echocardiogram
      1. Obtain in all children with confirmed Hypertension
    3. Renal Ultrasound indications
      1. Age <6 years old with Hypertension
      2. Children with abnormal Renal Function test or Urinalysis
    4. Other studies to consider
      1. Sleep Study or Polysomnogram (if Sleep Apnea suspected)
      2. MRA of renal arteries
  13. Screening
    1. Children and adolescents at no increased Hypertension risk
      1. Start at age 3 years old and screen every year (AAP 2017) to every 2 years (European Society Hypertension 2016)
      2. Other organizations (USPTF and AAFP, 2013) have cited insufficient evidence for recommendations
    2. Children with Hypertension risk factors (see above, or known Secondary Hypertension cause)
      1. Screen for Hypertension at every healthcare visit starting at time of known risk (regardless of age)
  14. Management: Non-pharmacologic
    1. Mnemonic: 5-2-1-0
      1. Five fruits and vegetables per day
      2. Maximum of 2 hours per day Screen Time daily
      3. One hour or more of Physical Activity daily
      4. No sugary drinks
    2. Continue monitoring Blood Pressure at least every 6 months
    3. Evaluate for Obesity
      1. Weight loss if Overweight (5-10% in a year, or maintain without gain)
      2. Consider secondary Hypertension Evaluation if weight is normal
    4. Evaluate cardiovascular risks
      1. Obtain Lipid profile
      2. Obtain Fasting Glucose
    5. Cardiovascular Risk Management
      1. Regular Exercise program of 30-60 minutes on most days
        1. Farpour-Lambert (2009) J Am Coll Cardiol 54(25): 2396-2406 [PubMed]
      2. Limit sedentary activities to <2 hours per day
      3. Low Fat Diet
      4. Low Sodium diet (e.g. DASH Diet)
      5. Fruits and vegetables at least 5 daily
      6. Tobacco Cessation
      7. Avoid Alcohol
  15. Management: Pharmacologic
    1. Indications
      1. Symptomatic Hypertension (e.g. Headaches, cognitive changes)
      2. Secondary Hypertension
      3. Stage 1 Hypertension refractory to general measures (for at least 3-6 months)
        1. Or no significant modifiable risk factors (e.g. Obesity, sedentary lifestyle)
      4. Stage 2 Hypertension
      5. Significant comorbidity
        1. Diabetes Mellitus
        2. Chronic Kidney Disease
      6. End-organ involvement
        1. Proteinuria
        2. Retinopathy
        3. Left Ventricular Hypertrophy
    2. Goal Blood Pressures
      1. Less than 90% for age, height, gender if age <13 years old or
      2. Less than 130/80 if age >13 years old
    3. Agents FDA approved in children
      1. Approach
        1. Start at the lowest recommended dose and titrate every 2-4 weeks until at target BP
        2. Initiate a second medication if goal not reached despite maximal dose of first medication
      2. Special Indications
        1. See Hypertension Management for Specific Populations
        2. Diabetes Mellitus or Kidney disease
          1. ACE Inhibitors
          2. ARB agents
        3. Teen girls at risk for pregnancy (avoiding Teratogenic agents)
          1. Calcium Channel Blocker (e.g. Amlodipine)
          2. Hydrochlorothiazide
      3. ACE Inhibitors (age 6 and over unless otherwise specified)
        1. Captopril
          1. Infant: 0.05 mg/kg/dose every 6 hours (max: 6 mg/kg/day)
          2. Child: 0.5 mg/kg/dose every 8 hours (max: 6 mg/kg/day)
        2. Lisinopril 0.07 mg/kg/day up to 5 mg daily (max: 0.6/mg/kg up to 40 mg/day)
        3. Benazepril (Lotensin) 0.2 mg/kg up to 10 mg (max: 0.6 mg/kg up to 40 mg/day)
        4. Enalapril (Vasotec) 0.08 mg/kg up to 5 mg (max: 0.6 mg/kg up to 40 mg/day)
          1. Has been used in age >1 month of age
        5. Fosinopril (Monopril)
          1. Weight >50 kg (111 lb): 5-10 mg daily (max: 40 mg day)
          2. Weight <50 kg (111 lb): 0.1 mg/kg/day up to 5 mg
        6. Ramipril 1.6 mg/m2 once daily (max: 6 mg/m2/day)
      4. Angiotensin Receptor Blockers (age 6 and over, unless otherwise specified)
        1. Losartan 0.7 mg/kg/day (max: 1.4 mg/kg or 100 mg daily)
        2. Irbesartan (Avapro) 75 to 150 mg daily for ages 6 to 12 years old
          1. Use adult dosing for age 13 and over
        3. Valsartan (Diovan) 1.3 mg/kg/day up to 40 mg/day (max: 2.7 mg/kg/day up to 160 mg/day)
        4. Olmesartan
          1. Age >6 and <35 kg (77 lb): 10 mg (max: 20 mg)
          2. Age >6 and <35 kg (77 lb): 20 mg (max: 40 mg)
        5. Candesartan
          1. Age 1-5 y: 0.02 mg/kg/day up to 4 mg/day (max: 0.4 mg/kg/day up to 16 mg/day)
          2. Age >6 y and <50 kg (111 lb): 4 mg/day (max: 16 mg/day)
          3. Age >6 y and >50 kg (111 lb): 8 mg/day (max: 32 mg/day)
      5. Calcium Channel Blockers
        1. Amlodipine
          1. Age 1-5 y: 0.1 mg/kg daily (max: 0.6 mg/kg/day up to 5 mg/day)
          2. Age >6 y: 2.5 to 5 mg/day (max: 10 mg/day)
        2. Felodipine 2.5 mg/day (max: 10 mg/day) if age 6 years old or older
        3. Nifedipine XR 0.2 to 0.5 mg/kg/day (max: 3 mg/kg up to 120 mg/day)
      6. Beta Blockers (age 6 years old and over)
        1. Use other agents first-line, unless other indications (e.g. Migraine Prophylaxis)
        2. Propranolol 1-2 mg/kg/day (max: 4 mg/kg or 640 mg/day)
        3. Metoprolol XL 1 mg/kg up to 50 mg (max: 2 mg/kg or 200 mg/day)
      7. Thiazide Diuretics
        1. Hydrochlorothiazide 1 mg/kg/day (max: 2 mg/kg/day or 37.5 mg/day)
        2. Chlorthalidone 0.3 mg/kg (max: 2 mg/kg/day up to 50 mg/day)
      8. Miscellaneous: Second-line agents
        1. Clonidine (Catapres) 0.1 to 0.2 mg twice daily up to 2.4 mg/day (if age 12 years or older)
  16. Complications
    1. Left Ventricular Hypertrophy
      1. May present as early as childhood
    2. Cardiovascular disease
      1. Premature onset in young adults
    3. Peripheral Vascular Disease
      1. Carotid intima-media thickness increase
  17. References
    1. (2017) Presc Lett 24(10):57
    2. (2004) Pediatrics 114:555-76 [PubMed]
    3. Bartosh (1999) Pediatr Clin North Am 46:235-52 [PubMed]
    4. Flynn (2005) Adolesc Med Clin 16:11-29 [PubMed]
    5. Flynn (2017) Pediatrics 140(3): e20171904 [PubMed]
    6. Luma (2006) Am Fam Physician 73(9):1558-66 [PubMed]
    7. Riley (2012) Am Fam Physician 85(7): 693-700 [PubMed]
    8. Riley (2018) Am Fam Physician 98(8): 486-94 [PubMed]

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