Feasibility and characteristics of arterial stiffness measurement in preschool children

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Abstract

Background

Arterial stiffness is an important predictor of cardiovascular risk in adult life. Increased arterial stiffness can also be present in children and may be associated with several other cardiovascular risk factors. Until now, however, we know little about measuring arterial stiffness in preschool children. In this study, we assessed the feasibility of measuring arterial stiffness in preschool children and explored possible determinants related to arterial stiffness at this age.

Methods

We studied 168 healthy children, aged 3.3–4.1 years, who were recruited from a prospective birth cohort. We measured arterial stiffness, expressed in aortic pulse wave velocity and augmentation index, using a non-invasive oscillometric device (Arteriograph). We measured anthropometry and recorded other determinants using a questionnaire.

Results

In 100 children (59.5%) at least one valid arterial stiffness measurement was obtained. Of these infants, 89 had at least two valid measurements and 73 infants had at least three valid measurements. The mean aortic pulse wave velocity was 5.56 m/s (SD 0.77), and the mean augmentation index of the aorta was 19.7 m/s (SD 7.0). The augmentation index was significantly inversely associated with body height, with a regression coefficient of –0.78 (m/s)/cm (95% confidence interval –1.13 to –0.42). The augmentation index was not significantly associated with age, sex or (birth) weight.

Conclusion

The feasibility of measuring arterial stiffness in preschool children using the Arteriograph is moderate. We identified height as the most important determinant of the augmentation index in preschool children.

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