CONTEXT:

Hypertension is frequently undiagnosed in children. Several methods have been developed to simplify screening for elevated blood pressure (BP) in children.

OBJECTIVE:

to assess the performance of different screening tools in identifying elevated BP in the pediatric population.

DATA SOURCES:

Data sources such as PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, Cochrane, and Scopus were searched up to March 2016.

STUDY SELECTION:

Studies providing measures of diagnostic performance of screening tools and that used age-, sex-, and height-specific BP percentile as the reference standard were included.

DATA EXTRACTION:

Data regarding the population, screening tools used to define elevated BP, and diagnostic criteria of BP were extracted. Available data on true-positive, false-positive, true-negative, and false-negative results were also extracted to construct a 2 × 2 contingency table.

RESULTS:

A total of 16 eligible studies that evaluated 366 321 children aged 3 to 18 years were included in the meta-analysis. Nine screening tools were included in this study, in which the BP-to-height ratio, the modified BP-to-height ratio, and tables based on age categories had the highest sensitivities (97–98%) but moderate specificities (71–89%).

LIMITATIONS:

Limitations included that BP measurements in most studies were based on 1 visit only and there was heterogeneity between the studies.

CONCLUSIONS:

Several user-friendly screening tools could improve the screening of elevated BP in the pediatric population.

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