For the first time, the American Heart Association (AHA) is recommending 24-hour BP monitoring for certain children and adolescents with high or suspected high BP. Hypertension is associated with organ damage even in children. The AHA recommendations are based on expert opinion rather than scientific evidence because data on the benefits of 24-hour ambulatory BP monitoring (ABPM) in children aren't yet available. But studies have shown that in adults, ABPM is more reliable than outpatient monitoring at predicting cardiovascular death and disability.
The AHA recommends using ABPM to rule out white coat hypertension and masked hypertension. It can also reveal if a child's BP drops during sleep and help clinicians gauge a child's response to antihypertensive medication.
Urbina E, et al. Ambulatory bloodpressure monitoring in children and adolescents: recommendations for standard assessment. A scientific statement from the American Heart Association Atherosclerosis, Hypertension, and Obesity in Youth Committee of the Council on Cardiovascular Disease in the Young and the Council for High Blood Pressure Research. Hypertension. 2008;52:433-451.