Low Birth Weight Impacts Adult Arterial Proportions

Adults born at very low birth weight may benefit from targeted cardiovascular disease prevention

FRIDAY, Jan. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Higher intima-media thickness (IMT) in young adults born with very low birth weight (VLBW) may be linked to an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, according to a study published online Jan. 24 in Pediatrics.

Petteri Hovi, M.D., from the Hospital for Children and Adolescents in Helsinki, Finland, and colleagues measured the stiffness and IMT thickness of the right carotid artery and flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) of the right brachial artery in 92 VLBW subjects and 68 control subjects between the ages of 18 and 27.

The researchers found that subjects with a VLBW had a 0.5 percent unit higher IMT relative to lumen size and a 1.1 percent unit higher FMD (P = 0.06). Carotid stiffness, IMT, and FMD, when analyzed as the absolute change in millimeters, were all similar between the two groups. They also found that among those patients with VLBW, every 100-gram-greater weight gain during the first two weeks postnatal predicted a 1.1 percent unit higher FMD later in adulthood, and that more rapid growth in the early postnatal period was associated with better endothelial function.

"With a number of risk factors for cardiovascular disease operating in young adulthood, our data suggest that those born at VLBW would benefit from targeted prevention of cardiovascular disease," the authors write.

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