Children should have electrocardiography before taking drugs for hyperactivity

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 01 May 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:980
  1. Janice Hopkins Tanne
  1. 1New York

Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder should have an electrocardiogram taken and a cardiac evaluation before they begin to take drugs for the disorder, the American Heart Association said in a scientific statement published on 21 April.

The stimulant drugs used to treat the disorder can increase heart rate and blood pressure and may be a concern if children have a heart condition, says the statement, published online in Circulation (doi: 10.1161/circulationaha.107.189473).

As many as 2% of apparently healthy school age children have potentially serious undiagnosed heart conditions that can be identified by electrocardiography but that may not be detected on routine physical examination, said Victoria Vetter, head of the …

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