Aim: Very low birthweight (VLBW) and prematurity have been associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure (BP). We compared BP and salivary cortisol responses to a stressful situation between adolescents with a VLBW and controls.
Methods: We compared three groups aged 12-17 years: 30 born VLBW but appropriate for gestational age (AGA) at a mean of 27 weeks, 19 born VLBW but small for gestational age (SGA) at a mean of 31 weeks and 43 term-born AGA controls. Three consecutive BP measurements were performed before a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) examination. Salivary cortisol and perceived stress were assessed before and after the MRI.
Results: Systolic and diastolic BP decreased significantly for each repeated measurement in the VLBW-SGA group and controls, but remained unchanged in the VLBW-AGA group. The third systolic BP measurement was 9-12 mmHg higher in the VLBW-AGA group than the other groups (p < 0.05). There were no differences in salivary cortisol between the groups, before and after the MRI or between the sexes.
Conclusion: Dynamic BP responses differed between adolescents born VLBW-AGA and the other groups, indicating that extremely preterm birth may be a larger risk factor for increased BP than intrauterine growth restriction.
Keywords: Gender; Hypertension; Intrauterine growth restriction; Preterm; Stress.
©2015 Foundation Acta Paediatrica. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.