Objective: To compare aortic intima media thickness (aIMT) to carotid intima media thickness (cIMT) as a marker of early atherosclerosis in children with type 1 diabetes mellitus and to examine the associations of aIMT to known cardiovascular risk factors.
Study design: 66 children with type 1 diabetes mellitus (age, 14.1 +/- 2.5 years; 37 male) and 32 healthy control subjects (age, 14.2 +/- 3 years; 15 male) underwent assessment of vascular structure (cIMT and aIMT) and vascular function (flow mediated dilatation [FMD] and glyceryl trinitrate induced dilatation [GTN]). Fasting blood tests were taken to measure levels of hemoglobin A1c, high sensitive C reactive protein, total homocyst(e)ine, serum folate, red cell folate, and lipids.
Results: aIMT, but not cIMT, was significantly greater in the children with type 1 diabetes mellitus than in control subjects (P < .001). In children with type 1 diabetes mellitus, aIMT correlated with glycosylated hemoglobin (r = 0.31, P = .01) and was independently associated with age (beta = 0.38, P = .001) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level (beta = 0.38, P = .001). Vascular function (GTN) was worse in children with type 1 diabetes mellitus who had an aIMT >95th percentile, as defined with the control subjects.
Conclusions: aIMT is an earlier marker than cIMT of preclinical atherosclerosis in children with type 1 diabetes mellitus and relates to known cardiovascular risk factors and metabolic control.
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