Background: It is insufficiently known if routine blood pressure (BP) measurement by school doctors has added predictive value for later hypertension and cardiovascular risk.
Objective: To assess whether screening of BP in adolescence has additional predictive value to already routinely collected indicators of later hypertension and cardiovascular risk.
Methods: In the Dutch city of Utrecht, routine BPs and anthropometry were collected from school health records of 750 adolescents. In The Hague, standardized repeated BP measurements and anthropometry were available for 262 adolescents. Of both cohorts, 998 now young adults were recently re-examined. Predictors of adult hypertension, systolic blood pressure (SBP) > or = 140 mmHg and/or diastolic blood pressure (DBP) > or = 90 mmHg) and 10-year cardiovascular risk were analysed by logistic regression and area under receiver operator characteristics curve (AUC).
Results: A total of 167 young adults had hypertension. Single adolescent SBP and DBP predicted hypertension: odds ratio (OR) 1.04 per mmHg [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.03-1.06], OR 1.02 (1.00-1.04), respectively, but with little discriminative power. Gender, adolescent body mass index (BMI) and age combined predicted hypertension: AUC 0.71 (0.67-0.75), which slightly improved by adding SBP: AUC 0.74 (0.70-0.77); difference in AUC 0.03 (0.002-0.06). SBP exclusively predicted hypertension within men: OR 1.03 (1.01-1.04), AUC: 0.59 (0.53-0.65), and within women: OR 1.08 (1.05-1.11), AUC 0.74 (0.67-0.82). However, an adolescent BP of > or = 120 mmHg did not efficiently detect hypertensive men, while it detected 57.9% of hypertensive women. Only young adult men had meaningful 10-year cardiovascular risks, which only SBP predicted: OR risk score > 95th percentile 1.04 (1.02-1.07), AUC 0.67 (0.60-0.75).
Conclusion: A single routine BP measurement in adolescent girls efficiently predicts young adult hypertension. In adolescent boys, BP predicts young adult 10-year cardiovascular risk.