Hypertension associated with skeletal traction in children
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Since traction-associated hypertension seems to be a relatively unknown phenomenon, a survey was done of its incidence in children treated with skeletal traction for fractures and orthopaedic diseases. The correlation with hypercalcaemia, a possible aetiological factor, was also explored. Blood pressure was recorded three times a day with an automatic oscillometric unit during the stay in the hospital. Serum calcium, creatinine and total protein concentrations were measured once a week. Patients with pre-existing diseases or renal trauma were excluded. Arterial hypertension (systolic and/or diastolic) was found in 31/50 children (62%). In almost half of these the rise in systolic blood pressure was 10 mmHg or more above the 95th percentile. Hypertension occurred in most cases within the first 3 weeks of treatment; in 7 children it developed after 3 or more weeks of traction. All children became normotensive within 1 week after discontinuation of traction. Clinical symptoms were rare: two children complained of headache. In no instance had traction to be discontinued before the planned date because of hypertension. In the hypertensive group were more preschool children and more humeral fractures as compared to the normotensive group (n=19). Hypercalcaemia occurred in 11 children and was equally distributed in hypertensive and in normotensive children. It is concluded that arterial hypertension is a frequent finding in children in traction, but its clinical relevance is uncertain. Hypercalcaemia is not a rare finding in immobilized children, but probably plays no causative role in traction-related hypertension.
Key wordsArterial hypertension Skeletal traction Fractures Children Hypercalcaemia
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