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Am J Med Sci. 1990 Feb;299(2):79-86.

Combined low-dose medication and primary intervention over a 30-month period for sustained high blood pressure in childhood.

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Department of Medicine, Louisiana State University Medical Center, New Orleans 70112.


Studies of the pathobiologic consequences of high blood pressure in childhood, as well as those following blood pressure levels into young adulthood, indicate that early intervention in the natural history of essential hypertension is warranted. In an exploratory study of the concept, 95 children out of 1604 (aged 8 to 18 years), who persistently scored higher than the 90th percentile for blood pressure over a 4-month period, considering the race, sex, and height of the children, were studied. Five series of replicate measurements with 30 total observations were obtained. Children with evidence of secondary hypertension were excluded. The study children were randomly divided into treatment (n = 48) and high-comparison (n = 47) groups. Treatment consisted of low-dose combined drug therapy (propranolol and chlorthalidone) with an educational program directed towards hypertension and dietary and exercise modification. Monthly follow-up was continued for 30 months. Significant systolic (-3.59 mm Hg) and diastolic (-1.73 mm Hg) changes were noted up to 30 months (p less than 0.05) with minimal side effects. Furthermore, analyses suggested that the blood pressure change, at least in the first month, was mostly attributable to drug therapy. Moreover, the mechanism of blood pressure change appeared to be race-specific, with whites having pulse rate changes and blacks having significant weight changes, which were associated with blood pressure change. This trial shows further research is warranted to determine optimum approaches for early treatment of essential hypertension to prevent future hypertensive disease.

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