Noninvasive assessment of arterial stiffness and risk of atherosclerotic events in children

Pediatr Res. 2005 Aug;58(2):173-8. doi: 10.1203/01.PDR.0000170900.35571.CB. Epub 2005 Jul 31.


Noninvasive assessment of vascular dysfunction in the pediatric population has taken advantage of the development of high-resolution ultrasound techniques. The most frequently used methods are the quantification of flow-mediated endothelium-dependent dilation of the brachial artery and measurement of the intima-media thickening of the carotid artery. Both reduced flow-mediated dilation and increased intima-media thickness have been proven to correlate with late cardiovascular events and/or mortality in adults. As these noninvasive methods can easily be applied in children, there have been recent investigations in high-risk pediatric patients harboring classical cardiovascular risk factors. Endothelial dysfunction and increased thickness of the intima media are currently observed in children with familial hypercholesterolemia, obesity, and type 1 diabetes mellitus. The association of early vascular dysfunction with a known risk factor is an important issue as these anomalies precede the formation of atherosclerotic plaques. Therefore, they may help in stratification of the risk for cardiovascular event and to better tailor therapeutic interventions in at risk children. Finally, these methods have been applied in specific pediatric populations, such as children with end-stage renal disease, chronic parenteral nutrition, HIV infection, and coarctation of the aorta. In these conditions, endothelial dysfunction and vascular remodeling are also present early in life and these data raise new possibilities in the understanding of the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis in these populations.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arteries / pathology
  • Arteriosclerosis / complications
  • Arteriosclerosis / diagnosis*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Carotid Arteries / pathology
  • Child
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / complications
  • Echocardiography / methods
  • Endothelium, Vascular / pathology
  • Humans
  • Hyperlipoproteinemia Type II / complications
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / complications
  • Risk Factors
  • Tunica Intima / pathology
  • Ultrasonography / methods