RESEARCH SUPPORT, N.I.H., EXTRAMURAL
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Characteristics of systemic hypertension in preterm children.

The prevalence of essential hypertension (EH) among preterm children is unknown. The authors evaluated consecutive children with a diagnosis of hypertension and prematurity (gestational age <37 weeks) in a tertiary pediatric hypertension clinic and identified 36 preterm hypertensive children. Among these preterm children, 23 were diagnosed in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU; infantile) and 13 were diagnosed at an older age (childhood). When compared with patients with a childhood diagnosis, patients with an infantile diagnosis had a significantly lower gestational age, longer duration of hospitalization in the NICU, and a higher incidence of perinatal risk factors for hypertension. None with infantile diagnosis had EH, whereas 46% with childhood diagnosis had EH. Among premature children, systemic hypertension was either diagnosed in infancy or in childhood, with each age at diagnosis having unique risk factors and clinical course. Although 83% of preterm children had secondary hypertension, EH was diagnosed in 17% and was only seen in those diagnosed beyond infancy.

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