Aortic and carotid intima-media thickness in term small-for-gestational-age newborns and relationship with prenatal signs of severity

Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2014 Jun;43(6):625-31. doi: 10.1002/uog.13245. Epub 2014 May 6.


Objective: To assess carotid and aortic intima-media thickness (IMT) in term small-for-gestational-age (SGA) newborns with and without prenatal signs of severity.

Methods: This prospective study comprised 67 cases diagnosed prenatally and 134 normally grown newborns. Cases were subclassified into SGA with no signs of severity and those with signs of severity, defined as a birth weight below the 3(rd) percentile or abnormal uterine artery Doppler or cerebroplacental ratio. Blood pressure and vascular IMT were evaluated.

Results: SGA newborns showed a non-significant trend for higher values of blood pressure. IMT values were significantly increased in SGA newborns, with and without signs of severity, compared with controls. The magnitude of the increase was higher in SGA newborns with signs of severity.

Conclusions: Vascular IMT was increased in SGA newborns, irrespective of the presence or absence of prenatal signs of severity. This finding challenges the notion of 'constitutionally small' SGA, and supports the premise that the majority of SGA newborns have true growth restriction and suffer fetal cardiovascular programming.

Keywords: aortic intima-media thickness; blood pressure; carotid arterial intima-media thickness; late-onset intrauterine growth restriction; small-for-gestational age.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Aorta / pathology
  • Aortic Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Aortic Diseases / pathology
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Carotid Arteries / pathology
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / pathology
  • Carotid Intima-Media Thickness
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / pathology
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Small for Gestational Age / physiology*
  • Observer Variation
  • Placental Insufficiency / pathology
  • Placental Insufficiency / physiopathology
  • Pregnancy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Tunica Intima / pathology
  • Tunica Media / pathology