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Revista Uruguaya de Cardiología

On-line version ISSN 1688-0420


CURCIO, Santiago et al. Prevalence of structural and functional arterial abnormalities in asymptomatic Uruguayan children and adolescents: Child-specific early detection of atherosclerotic cardiovascular damage and relative risk. Rev.Urug.Cardiol. [online]. 2015, vol.30, n.1, pp.48-57. ISSN 1688-0420.

Introduction: non-invasive vascular studies are used in adults for assessment of target organ damage (TOD), cardiovascular risk re-classification and early detection of impairment in both arterial structure and function. Recently, it has been recommended to apply these studies in pediatric population, in order to detect those children with greater risk of developing atherosclerotic arterial disease and design early specific interventions that would allow to reduce arterial damage, and thus cardiovascular risk during adulthood. In 2014, an open access/free center (service) for children arterial evaluation was created in Uruguay. In this center, several studies are applied as an integrated approach to assess arterial structure and function parameters such as: local and regional arterial stiffness, arterial wall thickness, vascular reactivity, central aortic pressure, pulse-wave reflection analysis and sub-endocardial viability ratio. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of arterial alterations in children and adolescents evaluated in the new center, using reference values recently proposed by the American Heart Association (AHA). Methods: 365 children/adolescents without known disease were included (3-17 years old, median 12 years). Cardiovascular risk-factor exposure was assessed and integrated arterial evaluation was applied. Carotid Intima-Media Thickness (CIMT; Ultrasonography/specific border detection software), aortic stiffness (Carotid-femoral Pulse Wave Velocity, PWV; applanation tonometry) and vascular reactivity (VR; flow-mediated dilation) were analyzed. Arterial impairment was considered when: 1) CIMT or PWV = 95th percentile (for age and sex, reference values from AHA), 2) VR<5%. Vascular impairment prevalence was quantified, and its relationship with age (<12 y.o vs. >12 y.o) and sex. Results: the prevalence of structural (CIMT» 35%) and functional (VR» 25%) vascular impairment was high, and so was cardiovascular risk-factor exposure. Prevalence increased with age. No sex-related differences were found. Conclusion: the children/adolescents evaluated showed high prevalence of CIMT, PWV and VR levels outside the reference ranges from the AHA.  This prevalence could be partly explained by the high cardiovascular risk-factor exposure. The age-related increase in PWV high levels could be associated with a longer time of risk-factor exposure (accumulated damage). The prevalence found could also be explained by mismatch of the AHA reference values with Uruguayan population, thus enhancing the needs for national reference/normative values


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