The frequency of blood pressure measurements in children in four EDs

Am J Emerg Med. 2000 Nov;18(7):784-8. doi: 10.1053/ajem.2000.16311.


The study's objective was to assess the frequency of triage blood pressure measurements in pediatric patients and the recognition of an elevated blood pressure. The design was retrospective and included chart review. The setting consisted of four emergency departments associated with one medical school, including one level I academic center, two level II Community departments, and a regional children's hospital. A convenience sample of 437 patients, aged 1 month to 18 years, was selected. The frequency of triage blood pressure measurements was recorded. The number of patients whose blood pressure was higher than the 90th percentile for age and sex as established by the Second Task Force on Blood Pressure Control in Children was also recorded. The frequency of a second blood pressure measurement in patients with an elevated initial blood pressure was recorded. All frequency data were stratified by hospital and by age group. The results showed 294/437 (66%) of children had blood pressures measured at triage. Of these measurements, 153/294 (52%) reflected blood pressures greater than the 90th percentile for age and sex, but only 58/153 (38%) of patients with such blood pressures had a second blood pressure measured. Hospitals varied in their frequency of blood pressure measurement. Adolescents had their blood pressure measured more frequently, 981105 (93%) than two to 12-year-olds, 144/185 (78%) or 1-month to 2-year-olds, 52/147 (35%). Frequency of triage blood pressure measurements in children varied by institution and increased in frequency with age.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Blood Pressure Determination / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child
  • Child Health Services
  • Child, Preschool
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / diagnosis*
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Triage*