Objective this study aimed to simplify the diagnostic criteria of pre-hypertension (pre-HTN) and hypertension (HTN) in the pediatric age group, and to determine the accuracy of these simple indexes in a nationally- representative sample of Iranian children and adolescents. Method the diagnostic accuracy of the indexes of systolic blood pressure-to-height ratio (SBPHR) and diastolic BPHR (DBPHR) to define pre-HTN and HTN was determined by the area under the curve of the receiver operator characteristic curves. Results the study population consisted of 5,738 Iranian students (2,875 females) with mean (SD) age of 14.7 (2.4) years. The prevalences of pre-HTN and HTN were 6.9% and 5.6%. The optimal thresholds for defining pre-HTN were 0.73 in males and 0.71 in females for SBPHR, and 0.47 in males and 0.45 in females for DBPHR, respectively. The corresponding figures for HTN were 0.73, 0.71, 0.48, and 0.46, respectively. In both genders, the accuracies of SBPHR and DBPHR in diagnosing pre-HTN and HTN were approximately 80%. Conclusions BPHR is a valid, simple, inexpensive, and accurate tool to diagnose pre-HTN and HTN in adolescents. The optimal thresholds of SBPHR and DBPHR were consistent with the corresponding figures in other populations of children and adolescents with different racial and ethnic backgrounds. Thus, it is suggested that the use of these indexes can be generalized in programs aiming to screen elevated blood pressure in the pediatric age group. © 2013 Sociedade Brasileira de Pediatria.
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