Background: Hypertension is a common complication and is an important risk factor for graft loss and adverse cardiovascular outcomes in pediatric kidney transplantation. Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) is the preferred method to characterize blood pressure status.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective review of a large cohort of children and young adults with kidney transplant to estimate the prevalence of abnormal ambulatory blood pressure (ABP), assess factors associated with abnormal ABP, and examine whether ambulatory hypertension is associated with worse allograft function and left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH).
Results: Two hundred twenty-one patients had ABPM, and 142 patients had echocardiographic results available for analysis. One third of the patients had masked hypertension, 32% had LVH, and 38% had estimated glomerular filtration rate less than 60 mL/min per 1.73 m. African-American race/Hispanic ethnicity and requirement for more than 1 antihypertensive medication were independently associated with having masked hypertension. In a multivariate analysis, abnormal blood pressure (masked or sustained hypertension combined) was an independent predictor for LVH among patients not receiving antihypertensive treatment (P = 0.025). In a separate analysis, the use of antihypertensive medications was independently associated with worse allograft function (P = 0.002) although abnormal blood pressure was not a significant predictor.
Conclusions: In young kidney transplant recipients, elevated ABP is frequently unrecognized and undertreated. The high prevalence of abnormal ABP, including masked hypertension, and its association with LVH supports the case for routine ABPM and cardiac structure evaluation as the standard of care in these patients.