Combined Effects of Child and Adult Elevated Blood pressure on Subclinical Atherosclerosis: The International Childhood Cardiovascular Cohort Consortium
Background—Elevated blood pressure (BP) levels in childhood have been associated with subsequent atherosclerosis. However, it is uncertain whether this risk is attenuated in individuals who acquire normal BP by adulthood. The present study examined the effect of child and adult BP levels on carotid artery intima-media thickness (cIMT) in adulthood.
Methods and Results—The cohort consisted of 4,210 participants from four prospective studies (mean follow-up 23 years). Childhood elevated BP was defined according to the tables from the National High Blood Pressure Education Program. In adulthood BP was classified as elevated for individuals with systolic BP ≥120mmHg, diastolic BP ≥80mmHg or with self-reported use of antihypertensive medications. cIMT was measured in the left common carotid artery. High IMT was defined as an IMT ≥age-, sex-, race-, and cohort-specific 90th percentile. Individuals with persistently elevated BP and individuals with normal childhood BP, but elevated adult BP had increased risk of high cIMT (RR[95%CI]) 1.82[1.47-2.38] and 1.57[1.22-2.02], respectively) when compared to individuals with normal child and adult BP. In contrast, individuals with elevated BP as children but not as adults did not have significantly increased risk (1.24[0.92-1.67]). In addition, these individuals had lower risk of increased cIMT (0.66[0.50-0.88]) when compared to those with persistently elevated BP. The results were consistent when controlling for age, sex, adiposity and when different BP definitions were applied.
Conclusions—Individuals with persistently elevated BP from childhood to adulthood had increased risk of carotid atherosclerosis. This risk was reduced if elevated BP during childhood resolved by adulthood.
- Received January 29, 2013.
- Revision received April 25, 2013.
- Accepted May 20, 2013.