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Less than 50% of UK practices have paediatric BP cuffs

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Less than 50% of UK general practices have paediatric blood-pressure cuffs, shows recent UK study.

There is a wealth of evidence suggesting that paediatric hypertension is becoming more common, with recent studies indicating a prevalence of 3% to 5%.  In addition to this, children with CKD, renal abnormalities and parenchymal scarring are at particular risk and require regular blood pressure assessment.

The study included 95 practices and investigated the availability of paediatric blood pressure equipment, and the confidence of primary care professionals in measuring and interpreting children’s blood pressure. Confidence was measured on a scale of 1-10.

The results showed that only 40 of the 95 practices possessed paediatric blood pressure cuffs. The median confidence in blood pressure measurement was seven, while confidence in interpretation was 3. Confidence in interpretation did however increase to 8 if paediatric normal range data were provided.

The researchers note that primary care centres in the UK are currently not ‘suitably equipped nor sufficiently confident to monitor childhood hypertension’ and advise that ‘investment in appropriate equipment and education is required before this component of care could be transferred from secondary and tertiary centres’. 

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