, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp 707-719
Date: 11 Sep 2008

Intima–media thickness measurements in children with cardiovascular risk factors

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Abstract

Measuring intima–media thickness (IMT) is now a standard diagnostic procedure in assessing cardiovascular risk and hypertensive target-organ damage (TOD) in adults. There is also an increasing number of pediatric publications evaluating IMT in children from high-risk groups, such as those with arterial hypertension, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, obesity, dyslipidemia, and homocystinurias. It has been shown that carotid IMT is strongly related with other markers of TOD in children with arterial hypertension and with metabolic cardiovascular risk factors. In children with coarctation of the aorta, carotid IMT correlated both with blood pressure and even with mild residual aortic gradient. On the other hand, studies in children with high cardiovascular risk have shown that normalization of blood pressure and metabolic abnormalities led to regression of arterial changes and decrease of IMT. Although not yet accepted as standard pediatric procedure, IMT measurement is emerging as a promising method of assessing TOD and cardiovascular risk and monitoring treatment efficacy. From a practical point of view, clinical utility of IMT measurements seems to be similar to use of echocardiography in assessing left ventricular mass. However, IMT measurements in children and adolescents should be standardized to avoid bias caused by the use of different measurement methods.