Objective: The ability of childhood elevated blood pressure (BP) to predict high pulse wave velocity (PWV), a surrogate marker for cardiovascular disease, in adulthood has not been reported. We studied whether elevated pediatric BP could predict high PWV in adulthood and if there is a difference in the predictive ability between the standard BP definition endorsed by the National High Blood Pressure Education Program and the recently proposed 2 simplified definitions.
Methods: The sample comprised 1241 subjects from the Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study followed-up 27 years since baseline (1980, aged 6-15 years). Arterial PWV was measured in 2007 by whole-body impedance cardiography.
Results: The relative risk for high PWV was 1.5 using the simple 1 (age-specific) definition, 1.6 using the simple 2 (age- and gender-specific) definition, and 1.7 using the complex (age-, gender-, and height-specific) definition (95% confidence interval: 1.1-2.0, P = .007; 1.2-2.2, P = .001; and 1.2-2.2, P = .001, respectively). Predictions of high PWV were equivalent for the simple 1 or simple 2 versus complex definition (P = .25 and P = .68 for area under the curve comparisons, P = .13 and P = .35 for net reclassification indexes, respectively).
Conclusions: Our results support the previous finding that elevated BP tracks from childhood to adulthood and accelerates the atherosclerotic process. The simplified BP tables could be used to identify pediatric patients at increased risk of high arterial stiffness in adulthood and hence to improve the primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases.
Keywords: blood pressure; pediatrics; prehypertension; screening; stiffness.