Cardiovascular Risk Factors and Carotid Intima-Media Thickness in Asymptomatic Children
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Atherosclerosis, beginning in childhood, is dependent on several risk factors and may be predictive of coronary artery disease in adulthood. The risk factors for subclinical atherosclerosis are similar to those for clinical disease. Carotid intima-media thickness is a measure of subclinical atherosclerosis and a predictor of subsequent vascular events. This study aimed to examine the relationships of carotid intima-media thickness with known risk factors in asymptomatic children. Family history of cardiovascular disease was collected, together with anthropometric, demographic, and clinical data. Body mass index z-scores were calculated. Serum glucose, lipid fractions, fibrinogen, and C-reactive protein were determined. High-resolution ultrasonography was used to assess intima-media thickness. Associations and relationships of risk factors with composite intima-media thickness were explored. The study enrolled 93 children (44 girls) ranging in age from 49 to 169 months. The boys had a thicker intima-media (0.46 ± 0.06 mm) than the girls (0.43 ± 0.06 mm; p = 0.028). The unadjusted triglyceride levels were significantly higher in the overweight and obese children (p = 0.010). Body mass index and overweight/obesity were positively related to intima-media thickness (r = 0.259; p = 0.012 and rs = 0.230; p = 0.027, respectively), whereas family history of cardiovascular disease was unrelated. Only gender and overweight/obesity were related to intima-media thickness in a multiple linear regression model (R2 = 0.125; p = 0.002). Male gender and overweight/obesity were associated with increased intima-media thickness, whereas family history of cardiovascular disease was unrelated.