Objective: To study the etiology and clinical profile of children with sustained hypertension.
Design: Retrospective hospital-based study.
Setting: Tertiary care, referral center.
Subjects: 246 children with sustained hypertension presenting between January 1983 and December 1996.
Results: The mean age at presentation was 8.2+/-3.9 yr; range 2 months-16 yr. There were 180 boys. An underlying cause for hypertension was identified in 242 (98.4%); 4 patients were considered to have essential hypertension. The chief causes included chronic glomerulonephritis (GN) in 121 (49.2%), obstructive uropathy in 39 (15.8%), reflux nephropathy in 30 (12.2%), thrombotic microangiopathy in 15 (6.1%) and renovascular disease in 14 (5.7%). Takayasu's disease was the most common cause of renovascular hypertension. Coarctation of aorta was the commonest cause of hypertension in infancy, being present in 53.3% of cases. In 198 subjects (80.5%) hypertension was detected as a feature of a known underlying disease. Thirty-five patients however, presented for the first time with complications of severe hypertension, including congestive cardiac failure in 21 and encephalopathy in 23. Thirteen patients presented with nonspecific symptoms and hypertension was detected on clinical examination.
Conclusions: Most patients with sustained hypertension have an underlying etiology. A significant proportion of patients with renovascular and endocrine conditions may present, for the first time, with complications of hypertension.