The intima-media thickness of the common carotid artery (cIMT) is a good noninvasive surrogate marker for cardiovascular disease. Regular cIMT monitoring in children with congenital heart disease has great potential. We sought to determine which anthropomorphic and haemodynamic variables were significantly associated with the cIMT in paediatric patients with obesity and children with repaired coarctation of the aorta (CoA).
We measured the cIMT in 143 children aged 5 to less than 18 years including normal weight controls (n = 44), children with overweight/obesity (n = 73) and children with repaired CoA (n = 26). cIMT was compared and the association between the cIMT and patient characteristics, including obesity and blood pressure (BP), was investigated.
BMI z score, sex and the presence of CoA were significant independent predictors of cIMT. The cIMT was significantly greater in children with overweight/obesity (0.53 ± 0.06 mm) relative to normal weight controls (0.51 ± 0.04 mm), as well as in CoA patients with abnormally high BP (0.57 ± 0.08 mm) versus CoA patients with normal BP (0.52 ± 0.05 mm) and controls (0.51 ± 0.04 mm). CoA patients with normal BP did not have significantly increased cIMT.
cIMT was positively associated with BMI z score, male sex and CoA repair in children. The increased cIMT in children with repaired CoA was because of those with abnormally high BP, which was masked in clinic for most of these patients. These findings warrant further investigations into the cIMT and other atherosclerotic risk factors to determine their potential clinical impact in these highly susceptible patients.
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