Tracking of structural and functional cardiac measures from infancy into school-age

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Abstract

Objective

Cardiac structure and function are important predictors for cardiovascular disease in adults. Not much is known about tracking of cardiac measures, other than left ventricular mass, from early life onwards. We examined whether and to what extent cardiac measures track from infancy into school-age.

Methods

We performed a population-based prospective cohort study among 1072 children. Aortic root diameter, left atrial diameter, left ventricular mass, relative wall thickness and fractional shortening were measured repeatedly by echocardiography. We explored tracking between infancy (1.5, six and 24 months) and school-age (six and 10 years).

Results

Of all cardiac measures, aortic root diameter, left atrial diameter and left ventricular mass were significantly correlated between infancy and school-age (r = 0.10–0.42, all p-values < 0.01), with the strongest correlations between 24 months and 10 years. Of the different structures, aortic root diameter showed the strongest correlations. Approximately 30% of children who were in the lowest or highest quartile of a measure at the age of 1.5 months remained in that quartile at the age of 10 years. When analysing the effects of the infant cardiac measures on the same outcomes at 10 years in conditional regression models, we observed effect estimates of the same size for the different age windows.

Conclusion

Our results suggest moderate tracking of structural cardiac measures from early infancy until school-age, which become stronger at older ages, but not of relative wall thickness or fractional shortening. Moderate tracking of cardiac structures suggests that cardiac structures are at least partly determined in early life.

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