Likelihood of clinics to refer pediatric hypertension patients to nephrology
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Purpose Physician adherence to diagnostic criteria for pediatric hypertension (HTN) remains an area of active research. We investigated which specialty clinics were more likely to appropriately refer hypertensive patients to a nephrology clinic. Methods A retrospective study was conducted on patients, aged 3-18 years, who were referred to the Cook Children's Medical Center (CCMC) nephrology clinic for elevated blood pressure (EBP) over a 3-year period. Patients were excluded if they were referred previously, were referred for other conditions, or did not have ≥1 prior visit at CCMC with blood pressure recorded. Up to 10 prior visits with EBP were recorded for each patient. Analyses were performed to determine which clinics were more or less likely to refer to CCMC nephrology for hypertension. Results There were 120 patients referred with a total of 626 prior visits recorded with EBP; thus, in 16% of recorded visits with EBP, patients were referred to nephrology. Visits to outside clinics (35%) were more likely to give referrals than were visits to CCMC clinics (13%). Primary care (20%), emergency and urgent care (18%), and especially cardiology (29%) clinics were prone to refer. However, endocrinology (13%), neurology (2%), and other specialty clinics (9%) were less likely to refer. Conclusion Cardiology clinics were especially likely to refer, whereas neurology clinics were unlikely to refer for hypertension. This disparity could be attributed to unfamiliarity with the diagnostic criteria apparently linked to specialty-related exposure to this patient population. These results have implications for provider education at CCMC.