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Performance of simplified tables for high blood pressure screening in a European pediatric population

Stabouli, Stellaa,*; Nika, Thomaitsab,*; Kollios, Konstantinosb; Antza, Christinac; Doundoulakis, Ioannisc; Kotsis, Vasiliosc

doi: 10.1097/HJH.0000000000001972

Objective: We assessed the performance of the simplified American Academy Pediatrics (AAP) 2017 guideline table and a simplified table based on the Fourth Report blood pressure (BP) reference tables for high BP screening compared with the European Society Hypertension 2016 guideline diagnostic thresholds.

Methods: We obtained data from a cross-sectional, school-based screening study in north Greece during 2013–2016. BP was measured by mercury sphygmomanometer. The simple tables’ performance for high BP was assessed by receiver operator characteristic curve analysis, area under the curve (AUC), sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), and negative predictive value (NPV).

Results: The study population included 1846 children aged 6–12 years and 986 adolescents aged 13–18 years. Compared with the European Society Hypertension 2016 classification, the AAP 2017 simple table showed AUC 0.93, sensitivity 95.5%, specificity 91.6%, PPV 35.9%, and NPV 99.7%, whereas the Fourth Report one showed AUC 0.96, sensitivity 99.2%, specificity 93.2%, PPV 42.1%, and NPV 99.9%. Comparing the prevalence of high BP by the two tables, we found agreement in 96.9% of the participants, and disagreement in 3.1% (kappa coefficient = 0.85, P < 0.001). 20.8% of the adolescents classified for further screening by the Fourth Report, but not by the AAP 2017 simple table, had BP levels at the high-normal category.

Conclusion: Simple tables for BP screening based on age present good performance to identify children and adolescents with high BP levels. However, they may provide high rate of false positive results, and the simple table by the AAP 2017 guideline may fail to classify some adolescents eligible for further BP evaluation.

a1st Department of Pediatrics

b3rd Department of Pediatrics, Hippokratio Hospital

c3rd Department of Internal Medicine, Papageorgiou Hospital, Hypertension-24 h ABPM Center, Aristotle University Thessaloniki, Greece

Correspondence to Stella Stabouli, Ass. Prof., MD, PhD, 1st Pediatric Department, Aristotle University Thessaloniki, Hippokratio Hospital, 49 Konstantinoupoleos Str, 54642, Greece. Tel: +30 6976433767; e-mail:

Abbreviations: AAP, American Academy of Pediatrics; AUC, area under the curve; BP, blood pressure; ESH, European Society hypertension; NPV, negative predictive value; PPV, positive predictive value

Received 3 August, 2018

Accepted 18 September, 2018

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