Carotid artery intima-media thickness and stiffness index β changes in normal children: role of age, height and sex

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AimsThe need for early markers of atherosclerosis in paediatric ages has been emphasized recently. Few data are available on the behaviour of carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) and arterial stiffness in normal children.MethodsWe studied prospectively 131 healthy children (78 boys), aged 3–16 years, by high-definition ultrasonography and echo-tracking technique in order to evaluate cIMT and stiffness index β.ResultsStiffness index β underwent a significant age-related increase (P < 0.001), and a positive relationship between cIMT and height was found in boys. In addition, stiffness index β and cIMT were not related to each other (P = 0.97).ConclusionThis study provides information about two markers of subclinical atherosclerosis, cIMT and carotid stiffness index β, in normal children aged 3–16 years. We found a significant age-related and height-related increase of stiffness index β in both sexes, whereas cIMT was positively related to height only in boys.

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