West Virginia school-based screening reveals significant high blood pressure rate

Oct 13, 2010

It's not easy to wrangle fifth graders from noisy school hallways to get their blood pressure checked. But with an age-adjusted death rate due to heart disease substantially above the national average, West Virginia has a good reason to try.

In CARDIAC ( Risk Detection In Appalachian Communities), researchers collected blood pressure data on more than 62,000 West Virginia fifth graders and found that 12,245, or 19.7 percent, fall into the 95th percentile or above for blood pressure readings, based on norms for height and gender. Those children are considered to have .

"No other state is doing as comprehensive screening as we are," said Valerie Evans Minor, associate director for surveillance and co-founder of CARDIAC. "But with that comprehensive screening comes challenges."

Among them are school nurses with heavy caseloads. "Prevention often has to take a back seat to acute or even chronic care," Minor said.

Researchers in CARDIAC adapted by using upper-level students in the health sciences to help do readings.

Another challenge is the chaotic school environment — which can be far from the ideal quiet setting recommended for measuring blood pressure.

Minor said it's important to be realistic about what screening programs can achieve. "They do not diagnose," she said. " is better than missing the opportunity altogether for finding kids at risk. Ideal assessment can be done in follow-up in a more controlled environment."

Explore further: CDC charges Johns Hopkins to lead development of Ebola training module

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Severe hypertension: 'Silent killer' still on the loose

Jan 31, 2008

High blood pressure may be one of the top killers in the country, but you’d never know it by the way we’re behaving, say scientists attending the annual congress of the Society for Critical Care Medicine (SCCM).

Recommended for you

Study reveals state of crisis in Canadian foster care system

Oct 24, 2014

A new study of foster care in Canada led by a researcher at Western University reveals a shrinking number of foster care providers are available across the country to care for a growing number of children with increasingly ...

Researchers prove the benefits of persimmons for diet

Oct 24, 2014

Alba Mir and Ana Domingo, researchers from the Department of Analytical Chemistry of the University of Valencia, under the supervision of professors Miguel de la Guardia and Maria Luisa Cervera, from the same department, ...

Hand blenders used for cooking can emit persistent chemicals

Oct 24, 2014

Eight out of twelve tested models of hand blenders are leaking chlorinated paraffins when used according to the suppliers' instructions. This is revealed in a report from Stockholm University where researchers analyzed a ...

User comments : 0