The Relationship between Coronary Artery Disease Risk Factors and Carotid Intima-Media Thickness in Children

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To determine the number of coronary artery disease risk factors and the individual coronary artery disease risk factors that have a negative influence on carotid intima-media thickness in children.

Study design

One hundred and nineteen children (mean age 10.51 ± 0.52 years; 51% female) participated. Each subject was assessed for carotid intima-media thickness, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), glucose, body mass index (BMI), and resting blood pressure. Surveys assessed family history of cardiovascular disease, and physical activity. Ultrasound assessment was completed on the right and left common carotid arteries. Statistical analyses included the t test, χ2 test, one-way ANOVA, and stepwise regression.


An increase in carotid intima-media thickness was observed with 2 vs 0 coronary artery disease risk factors for left carotid intima-media thickness (P < .001). With 3+ vs 0 coronary artery disease risk factors, increases in left (P < .001) and combined left and right carotid intima-media thickness (P < .05) were observed. BMI independently predicted carotid intima-media thickness (r = 0.410; P < .01), but HDL-C did not. However, HDL-C was significantly inversely related to BMI (r = −0.534; P < .01). Combining BMI and HDL-C provided the strongest prediction of carotid intima-media thickness (r = 0.451; adjusted R2 = 0.190). Compared with children with a healthy and overweight BMI, children in the obese category had greater right (P < .00), left (P < .001), and combined right and left carotid intima-media thickness (P < .001).


Carotid intima-media thickness is negatively influenced by 2+ coronary artery disease risk factors. Weight status appears to have the greatest negative impact on carotid intima-media thickness in children. These findings support the need for strategies to lower BMI in children.

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