Objective: To evaluate the risk for developing incident hypertension (HTN) in adolescents with pre-hypertension.
Study design: A secondary analysis of students participating in multiple school-based blood pressure (BP) screens from 2000 to 2007 was completed. At each screen, height, weight, and 2 to 4 BPs were measured on as many as 3 occasions when BP remained ≥ 95th percentile. Students with confirmed HTN at their initial screen were excluded, and incident HTN was defined as having a BP ≥ 95th percentile at all 3 visits of a later screen. Incidence rates (IR) and hazard ratios (HR) were calculated by using Cox Proportional models.
Results: Of 1006 students, HTN developed in 11 (IR 0.5%/year) in a mean of 2.1 years of observation. IRs were higher in "at-risk" students (pre-hypertensive or hypertensive with follow-up BP <95th percentile), 1.4%/year (HR, 4.89; 1.48-16.19) and students with a BP ≥ 90th percentile at 3 baseline visits, 6.6%/year HR 24.33 (5.68-104.29)]. Although not significant, students with pre-hypertension by the 2004 Task Force definition also had an increased IR of 1.1%/year (HR, 2.98; 0.77-11.56)].
Conclusion: Elevated BP increases the risk for the development of HTN during adolescence. Effective strategies for preventing HTN in at-risk adolescents are needed.
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