Hypertension in childhood is no longer a rare condition mainly secondary to renal, or renovascular diseases, as a growing proportion of children are obese and hypertensive, with the phenotype of metabolic syndrome. Thus, we need to reconsider our practice in the examination of the hypertensive child and redefine the place of non-invasive methods for screening of renovascular hypertension, and specifically, to evaluate the value of captopril-enhanced renal scintigraphy at the two ends of the palette: The obese child with hypertension and the severely hypertensive prepubertal child. Renal artery stenosis in children is mainly due to fibromuscular dysplasia and stenoses associated with syndromes involving single or multiple smaller branch vessels. This explains the low specificity and sensitivity of the color-Doppler ultrasound method and captopril renal scintigraphy. Even the more sophisticated computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) angiographic techniques are, at present, not sensitive enough to exclude stenoses of the small branches definitely. Thus, children in whom there is a strong suggestion of renovascular hypertension should undergo angiography with a view to endovascular treatment, as non-invasive imaging has no significant benefit and might lead to a delay in treatment. In the cases when the probability of renovascular disease is moderate a basic assessment of renal function and structure is sufficient. In the neonate, catheter-associated thromboembolic disease is among the most common causes hypertension. It should be controlled medically until the patient is old enough to undergo angiography and angioplasty successfully. Thus, in this age group, there is a place for functional imaging with renal sonography and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor (ACEI) renography to detect hemodynamically significant renovascular disease, with the limitations mentioned above. However, the rapid technical evolution of non-invasive methods requires periodic re-consideration of the actual standpoints.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health