Sex differences in the determinants of left ventricular mass in childhood. The Medical College of Virginia Twin Study.
BACKGROUND Left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy is a predictor of cardiovascular events in adults and has been observed in children and adolescents with hypertension. We wanted to establish the determinants of LV mass in normotensive preadolescent children. Our objectives were 1) to produce a simplified and generalizable model of the clinical variables that determine normal cardiac growth during childhood and 2) to understand better why males have an increased LV mass relative to females, even as children.
METHODS AND RESULTS In a group of 243 eleven-year-old children, we analyzed anthropometric, hemodynamic, and echocardiographic data to define which variables were predictors of echocardiographically determined LV mass. Stepwise regression was used to predict LV mass overall, by sex, and by body size (body mass index). Overall, LV mass was directly related to weight, male sex, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure and inversely related to resting heart rate and skin-fold thicknesses. Systolic blood pressure was a determinant in boys but not in girls. Heart rate was a weak inverse correlate in both sexes. When the data were analyzed by body mass index quartile, weight was the sole predictor of LV mass in the largest children.
CONCLUSIONS We conclude that in normotensive preadolescent children, 1) weight, but not pondersity, is a strong predictor of LV mass; 2) body fat is negatively associated with LV mass; 3) boys have an increased LV mass relative to girls; and 4) boys and girls have similar anthropometric determinants and may have different hemodynamic determinants. Our data suggest that body size, and in particular lean body mass, explains much of the variability in cardiac growth seen in children. The influence of hemodynamic variables seems to be more limited. Our findings are of general interest because, although hypertensive heart disease is well described, the early developmental stages are not well understood.
- Copyright © 1992 by American Heart Association