Heart Screening Needed in Kids With Attention Deficit

April 22, 2008

Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) should undergo cardiovascular screening prior to being started on stimulant medications such as Ritalin and Adderall, according to an American Heart Association Scientific Statement published online April 21 in Circulation.

<p>TUESDAY, April 22 (HealthDay News) -- Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) should undergo cardiovascular screening prior to being started on stimulant medications such as Ritalin and Adderall, according to an American Heart Association Scientific Statement published online April 21 in <i>Circulation</i>.</p><p>Victoria L. Vetter, M.D., FAHA, of Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in Philadelphia and colleagues in the writing group for "Cardiovascular Monitoring of Children and Adolescents With Heart Disease Receiving Stimulant Drugs" review the medical literature regarding ADHD and the cardiac effects of stimulant medications and offer guidelines for cardiovascular screening.</p><p>The committee recommends that prior to starting stimulant medications, children with ADHD should undergo cardiovascular screening, including a detailed patient and family medical history, a full physical exam, and an electrocardiogram. A pediatric cardiology consult should be obtained if any worrisome findings are noted. In addition, children taking stimulant medications should undergo blood pressure checks every one to three months.</p><p>"This is new, and it is a shift in our policy," Dr. Vetter said in a statement. "But we're not recommending that every child in the country have these heart screenings, rather that they be used as a reasonable tool for this small, particular group of children about to take ADHD medications so we can ensure the treatment proceeds as safely as possible."</p><p>One author reports serving as a consultant for pharmaceutical companies.</p><p><a href="http://circ.ahajournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/CIRCULATIONAHA.107.189473v1" target="_new">Abstract</a><br/><a href="http://circ.ahajournals.org/cgi/reprint/CIRCULATIONAHA.107.189473v1" target="_new">Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)</a></p>

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