Introduction: Elevated blood pressure is becoming increasingly common in the pediatric population. Hypertension costs nearly $51 billion/year, and cardiovascular disease is responsible for 17% of the nation's health care expenditures. Traditionally, time-consuming and complicated interpretation standards result in infrequent pediatric blood pressure screenings. This may lead to the under-diagnosis of pediatric hypertension. Early detection of elevated blood pressure is important in order to prevent hypertension related conditions such as, target organ damage, left ventricular hypertrophy, and cerebrovascular disease. The aim of this study was to observe the prevalence of pediatric hypertension among children and adolescents age 3–18 using the smartphone application Pedia BP®. The purpose of this study was to (1) identify the prevalence of elevated blood pressure in a sample of children and adolescents and (2) evaluate any association between BMI, age, and blood pressure classification. Method: A quantitative, descriptive study was conducted to evaluate the prevalence of pediatric hypertension in 81 preschool and school age children. App users were trained with the online take2heart course available at take2heart.com. The manual systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings were entered into the application, along with the patient's gender, age, height, and weight. Pedia BP® instantly calculated the blood pressure classification of the patient based on percentiles. Quantitative data from the Pedia BP® data repository were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Results: We found that 54.3% of our sample were normotensive, 23.5% had prehypertension, 13.6% had stage 1 hypertension, and 8.6% had stage 2 hypertension. As seen in Figure 3, the majority of subjects with stage 1 (72.7%) and stage 2 hypertension (57.1%) were found in school-age children. We found that 3.7% of children were underweight, 48.1% were at a healthy weight, 21% were overweight, and 27.2% were obese. Discussion: Pedia BP® was shown to be an effective screening tool to easily classify blood pressure readings on an individual basis. The prevalence of hypertension in our sample was higher than previously reported in the literature. Annual evaluation of blood pressures in preschool and school age children are warranted to identify and address hypertension. Pedia BP® was shown to be an effective screening tool to easily classify blood pressure readings on an individual basis. Pedia BP® offers benefits not only for patients, but for primary care providers, nurses, economists, insurance companies, hospitals, and clinics. Ultimately, Pedia BP® (1) increases awareness of elevated blood pressures among children and adolescents, (2) engages the health care community to screen for elevated blood pressures, (3) implements innovative technology, and (4) activates the potential for a population-based surveillance tool.
- Population-based surveillance
- elevated blood pressure
- smartphone technology
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health