A quarterly publication of the Autism Research Institute

The Autism Research Review International is quarterly publication of the Autism Research Institute

Spring, 2023 | Number 2, Volume 36

Hypertension screening rarer for kids with ASD

According to current U.S. medical guidelines, children three years of age or older should be screened for hypertension. However, a new study indicates that children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are less likely than other children to receive this screening. 

Using two large national databases, James Nugent and colleagues analyzed data on preventive care visits from 2002 to 2018 involving patients between 3 and 21 years of age. These included visits to medical offices and hospital outpatient departments. 

The researchers found that more than 75 percent of children without ASD were screened for hypertension, compared to less than 56 percent of children with ASD. In addition, they found that rates of hypertension screening increased over time for children without ASD, but not for those with ASD. In contrast, children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, asthma, depression, diabetes, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and obesity were screened for hypertension at the same rate as children without these disorders. 

The researchers say their findings are in line with other research showing gaps in preventive care for children with ASD. Noting that sensory issues may sometimes make screening patients with ASD difficult, they suggest that home blood pressure monitoring may be a feasible alternative to in-office measurement in such cases.


Citations

“Screening for hypertension in children with and without autism spectrum disorder,” James T. Nugent, Christine Bakhoum, Lama Ghazi, and Jason H. Greenberg, JAMA Network Open, April 2022 (free online). Address: James T. Nugent, Clinical and Translational Research Accelerator, Department of Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, 60 Temple St., Ste. 6C, New Haven, CT 06510, [email protected]

—and— 

“Hypertension screening performed less often in children with autism,” Conor Iapoce, HCP Live, April 7, 2022.