Elevated blood pressure (BP) in childhood has been associated with increased adult arterial stiffness, the independent predictor of cardiovascular and all-cause mortality. The favorable BP change from childhood to adulthood and the risk of high adult arterial stiffness has not been reported. We examined the effect of child and adult BP on pulse wave velocity (PWV) assessed in adulthood among 1540 white adults followed-up for 27 years since baseline (1980, aged 6-18 years). Childhood elevated BP was defined according to the tables from the National High Blood Pressure Education Program. In adulthood, BP was classified as elevated if systolic BP ≥120 mm Hg, diastolic BP ≥80 mm Hg, or self-reported use of antihypertensive medications. PWV was measured in 2007 by whole-body impedance cardiography, and high PWV was defined as values at or above the age-, sex-, and heart rate-specific 80th percentile. Individuals with persistently elevated BP and individuals with normal child but elevated adult BP had increased risk of high adult PWV (relative risk [95% confidence interval], 3.18 [2.22-4.55] and 2.64 [1.79-3.88], respectively) in comparison with individuals with normal (both child and adult) BP. In contrast, individuals with elevated BP in childhood but not in adulthood did not have significantly increased risk of high PWV (relative risk [95% confidence interval], 1.26[0.80-1.99]). The results were consistent when different definitions for child and adult elevated BP were applied. These findings highlight the importance of BP control in the primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases.
Keywords: arteriosclerosis; blood pressure; elasticity; epidemiology; hypertension.
© 2017 American Heart Association, Inc.