Doppler Echocardiography Assessment of Aortic Stiffness in Female Adolescents with Anorexia Nervosa

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Abstract

Background:

Anorexia nervosa (AN) is associated with abnormalities in biomarkers of cardiovascular risk. Arterial stiffness, as measured by pulse-wave velocity (PWV), is also a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The aims of this study were to determine the stiffness of the aorta in female adolescents with AN and to determine if either the severity or the type of AN was associated with PWV.

Methods:

This was a retrospective case-control study. Adolescent patients with a clinical diagnosis of AN were included. Aortic diameter and pulse-wave transit time over a portion of the thoracic aorta were measured using Doppler echocardiography, and PWV was calculated.

Results:

There were 94 female patients with AN and 60 adolescent female control subjects. There was no significant difference in age between patients with AN and control subjects (15.5 ± 1.7 vs 15.1 ± 2.6 years, P = .220). Body mass index (16.0 ± 2.4 vs 19.7 ± 2.7 kg/m2, P < .001) and body mass index percentile (9.4 ± 15.6 vs 45.5 ± 26.2, P < .001) were significantly lower for patients with AN than control subjects. PWV (443 ± 106 vs 383 ± 77 cm/sec, P < .001) was significantly higher in patients with AN than control subjects. Similar differences from control subjects were found in patients with AN with both lower and higher body mass index percentiles and also in patients with AN with the restrictive or the binge-purge subtype.

Conclusions:

Female adolescents with AN have increased aortic stiffness compared with control subjects. This study suggests that patients with AN may be at increased risk for future cardiovascular disease. Future studies are required to determine the reversibility of these changes with weight restoration.

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