Pediatric Nephrology

, Volume 26, Issue 7, pp 1115–1121 | Cite as

Elevated systolic blood pressure in preterm very-low-birth-weight infants ≤3 years of life

  • Andrea F. Duncan
  • Roy J. Heyne
  • Janet S. Morgan
  • Naveed Ahmad
  • Charles R. RosenfeldEmail author
Original Article


Preterm, very-low-birth-weight neonates (≤1500 gm, VLBW) exhibit elevated systolic blood pressures (SBP) in adolescence and adulthood; however, the age of onset and causes are unknown. We assessed SBP in a cross-sectional study of VLBW infants at 1, 2 and 3 years of age (n = 40 per cohort). SBP was manually measured using Doppler amplification (observed), and calm values were compared to reference ranges used for clinical purposes (expected). SBP was converted to age-, gender- and height-specific z-scores (SBPz). Perinatal variables and growth parameters measured between 6 and 36 months were assessed as predictors of an elevated SBP. Observed SBP and SBPz exceeded the expected value at each age (P < 0.01); for example 1 year SBP was 94 ± 10 (standard deviation) vs. 85 ± 3 mmHg, respectively. Although the expected SBP rose from 85 ± 3 to 90 ± 3 mmHg with advancing age (P < 0.05), VLBW SBP was unchanged (P > 0.1), averaging 93 mmHg across ages. Height and weight z-scores were below expected (P < 0.01), while weight-for-height z-scores exceeded zero at 6, 12 and 24 months (P < 0.05). Male subscapular skinfold thickness:abdominal circumference ratio decreased with advancing age, paralleling the decreases in SBPz. The VLBW neonates demonstrated an elevated SBP as early as 1 year of age. Although predictive perinatal variables were not identified, gender-specific relationships between infant growth and SBP were observed.


Infant growth Adiposity Z-scores Perinatal-neonatal events 



Dr. Duncan received funding from a Marshall Klaus Research Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics, Section on Perinatal Pediatrics; additional support was provided by the George L. MacGregor Professorship awarded to Dr. Rosenfeld.


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Copyright information

© IPNA 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrea F. Duncan
    • 1
  • Roy J. Heyne
    • 1
  • Janet S. Morgan
    • 1
  • Naveed Ahmad
    • 2
  • Charles R. Rosenfeld
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Division of Neonatal–Perinatal Medicine, Department of PediatricsUniversity of Texas Southwestern Medical School at DallasDallasUSA
  2. 2.Department of Clinical ResearchChildren’s Medical Center of DallasDallasUSA

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