AAP and AHA Clarify Statement Recommending Heart Screenings for ADHD Kids

A joint advisory of the AAP and AHA has added explanatory statements to the AHA Scientific Statement recommending heart screenings for all ADHD children treated with medication.

Tuesday May 27th - 10:53am

The American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have issued a joint advisory clarifying an AHA statement released on April 21, 2008.

The original scientific statement recommended heart screenings, including electrocardiograms (ECGs), for children with ADHD before they are placed on medication.

The AAP and AHA joint advisory clarified much of the language in these suggestions. First, it maintained that, while the AHA statement reviewed data which demonstrated that children with heart conditions are more likely to have ADHD, there is no evidence that ADHD medications cause heart conditions or cardiac arrest. The joint advisory did state that some ADHD medications may increase or decrease blood pressure and heart rate, and that these side effects should be monitored in children with heart conditions.

The joint advisory also clarified the recommendations for heart screenings. Children diagnosed with ADHD should be assessed for heart conditions before being treated with stimulant medications. Such an assessment should include a patient and family medical history, as well as a physical exam. A physician may deem an ECG necessary, but it is a Class IIa recommendation, meaning it is reasonable but not necessary.

For more information, read the AAP and AHA Correction.

Read the statement issued by the pediatrics group on May 28, 2008.

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