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Hypertension - infants
High blood pressure (hypertension) is an increase in the force of blood against the arteries in the body. This article focuses on high blood pressure in infants.
Blood pressure measures how hard the heart is working, and how healthy the arteries are. There are two numbers in each blood pressure measurement:
Blood pressure measurements are written this way: 120/80. One or both of these numbers can be too high.
Several factors affect blood pressure, including:
High blood pressure in infants may be due to kidney or heart disease that is present at birth (congenital). Common examples include:
In newborn babies, high blood pressure is often caused from a blood clot in a kidney blood vessel, a complication of having an umbilical catheter.
Other causes of high blood pressure in infants may include:
Blood pressure rises as the baby grows. The average blood pressure in a newborn is 64/41. The average blood pressure in a child ages 1 month - 2 years is 95/58. Some variations in these numbers are normal and are not cause for concern.
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Update on the 1987 Task Force Report on High Blood Pressure in Children and Adolescents: a working group report from the National High Blood Pressure Education Program. National High Blood Pressure Education Program Working Group on Hypertension Control in Children and Adolescents. Pediatrics. 1996 Nov;98(5):1002.
Robertson J, Shilkofski N, eds. Johns Hopkins: The Harriet Lane Handbook: A Manual for Pediatric House Officers, 17th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby; 2005.
Park MK. Park: Pediatric Cardiology for Practitioners, 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby Elsevier; 2008.
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