Life-course of cardio-respiratory associations

Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2015 Feb;22(2):140-9. doi: 10.1177/2047487313510410. Epub 2013 Oct 30.


Background: Several studies have shown that raised cardiovascular risk factors are associated with an impaired lung function in adulthood. Whether this association also exists in the young is unknown. Our aim was to study the relation between blood pressure and lung function from neonatal to elderly age.

Study design: This was a cross-sectional study in a general population cohort.

Methods: Within the Utrecht Health Project (UHP) 6673 adults (aged 18-91 years) had spirometry and blood pressure measurements taken. In the WHeezing Illnesses STudy LEidsche Rijn (WHISTLER) study, a satellite birth cohort of the UHP, blood pressure and respiratory mechanics were measured using the single occlusion technique in 755 newborns and spirometry in 382 5-year-old participants. Linear regression analyses were performed with lung function as an independent variable and blood pressure as a dependent variable in different age groups. The analyses were adjusted for age, sex, weight and height.

Results: In infancy a more favorable lung function (higher compliance and lower resistance) was associated with higher blood pressure. In 5-year-old children and young adults higher forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) was associated with higher systolic blood pressure (p-values < 0.05). At the age of 5 the adjusted regression coefficient for systolic blood pressure was 4.8 mmHg/L (95% confidence interval (95% CI) -0.3-9.98). The association decreased with increasing age and reversed in the age groups above 40 years to -7.3 mmHg/L (95% CI -15.5-0.9) in those aged over 70 years of age. The association with pulse pressure showed a similar pattern.

Conclusions: A positive association between the mechanical properties of the respiratory system and blood pressure in childhood and young adulthood reverses in later adulthood.

Keywords: adult; blood pressure; child; infant; lung function tests; spirometry.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Blood Pressure Determination / methods
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Linear Models
  • Lung / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Respiratory Function Tests / methods
  • Spirometry / methods
  • Young Adult