Preterm birth, vascular function, and risk factors for atherosclerosis

Lancet. 2001 Oct 6;358(9288):1159-60. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(01)06276-6.


Low birthweight may predispose to the development of atherosclerosis later in life. We have tested the hypothesis that low birthweight as a result of preterm birth is associated with reduced flow-mediated endothelial-dependent vasodilation (FMD), which is an early stage in the development of atherosclerosis. Mean FMD in adolescents born preterm who had a low birthweight did not differ from that for controls born at term (0.225 mm vs 0.220 mm, SD 0.1 for both means, p=0.78). Our findings indicate that low birthweight attributable to prematurity does not increase the risk of vascular disease later in life.

Publication types

  • Letter
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Arteriosclerosis / etiology*
  • Blood Pressure
  • Brachial Artery / diagnostic imaging
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Endothelium, Vascular / diagnostic imaging
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Ultrasonography