It is well-known that SiC wafer quality deficiencies are delaying the realization of outstandingly superior 4H-SiC power electronics. While efforts to date have centered on eradicating micropipes (i.e., hollow core super-screw dislocations with Burgers vector > 2c), 4H-SiC wafers and epilayers also contain elementary screw dislocations (i.e., Burgers vector = Ic with no hollow core) in densities on the order of thousands per cm2, nearly 100-fold micropipe densities. This paper describes an initial study into the impact of elementary screw dislocations on the reverse-bias current-voltage (I-V) characteristics of 4H-SiC p+n diodes. First, Synchrotron White Beam X-ray Topography (SWBXT) was employed to map the exact locations of elementary screw dislocations within small-area 4H-SiC p+n mesa diodes. Then the high-field reverse leakage and breakdown properties of these diodes were subsequently characterized on a probing station outfitted with a dark box and video camera. Most devices without screw dislocations exhibited excellent characteristics, with no detectable leakage current prior to breakdown, a sharp breakdown I-V knee, and no visible concentration of breakdown current. In contrast devices that contained at least one elementary screw dislocation exhibited a 5% to 35% reduction in breakdown voltage, a softer breakdown I-V knee, and visible microplasmas in which highly localized breakdown current was concentrated. The locations of observed breakdown microplasmas corresponded exactly to the locations of elementary screw dislocations identified by SWBXT mapping. While not as detrimental to SiC device performance as micropipes, the undesirable breakdown characteristics of elementary screw dislocations could nevertheless adversely affect the performance and reliability of 4H-SiC power devices.