Relevance of routine blood pressure assessment in adult patients at a dental clinic in a tertiary institution in Lagos, Nigeria
Aim: To determine the relevance of routine blood pressure (BP) measurement in patients attending the dental clinic. Materials and methods: This was a retrospective survey of patients who attended the dental clinic in the Preventive Dentistry Department of a tertiary Hospital in Lagos, Nigeria over an eighteen month period. Data retrieved from the patient’s hospital records included age, sex, BP and history of hypertension. Data was analyzed using Epi info 2011 package. p-value <0.05 was considered statistically significant. Results: A total of 1910 patients’ records were assessed. Females represented 53.4% (n = 1020) of the study population. The mean age was 37.1 ± 15.0 years (range 18-88 years). The prevalence of hypertension was 39.9% (n = 763). Hypertension was stage 1 in 25.5%, stage 2 in 9.8% and severe in 4.6% of the dental patients. Past medical history of hypertension was obtained for 952 patients (49.8%). Of the 763 patients with high blood pressure, 14.8% had a known history of hypertension, while 42.1% were previously undiagnosed (p < 0.0001). Systolic and diastolic BP increased with increasing age (p < 0.05) and was significantly higher in males than females (p < 0.05). Conclusion: The high prevalence of hypertension noted among the study population with its potential consequence during dental procedures makes the measurement of blood pressure a valuable assessment in a dental clinic. Clinical significance: The high prevalence of hypertension particularly the previously undiagnosed cases among the dental patients highlights the relevance of routine blood pressure assessment prior to dental procedures in contemporary dental practice, so as to minimize the potential complications that could occur.