The Impact of Being Born Preterm or Small for Gestational Age on Early Vascular Aging in Adolescents

J Pediatr. 2018 Oct;201:49-54.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2018.05.056. Epub 2018 Jun 28.


Objective: To assess the impact of being born preterm or small for gestational age (SGA) on early vascular aging (EVA) in a cohort of healthy Tyrolean adolescents.

Study design: This study is part of an ongoing clinical trial, EVA Tyrol, a regional cohort study being conducted in western Austria. EVA was assessed in adolescents (mean age, 16 years) by means of carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (PWV), carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT), and blood pressure measurements. Adolescents were grouped as either term or preterm. Subsequently, being born SGA was taken into consideration in subgroup analysis. Complete data on gestational age and birth weight were available for 930 adolescents.

Results: Systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure were significantly higher in the preterm (mean gestational age, 34.8 ± 2.3 weeks) and appropriate for gestational age (AGA) group than in the term and AGA group (P < .05). This finding remained significant in linear regression analysis after adjustment for covariables in all models. PWV was significantly higher in the term-SGA group than in the term-AGA group (6.67 ± 1.73 m/s vs 6.07 ± 1.09 m/s; P < .05). In the linear regression analysis, this finding remained significant in all models. There were no differences in cIMT between study groups.

Conclusion: Being born preterm or SGA might render persons susceptible to EVA. Long-term follow-up of preterm and SGA individuals is warranted to confirm these results.

Keywords: PWV; cIMT; early vascular aging; preterm; small for gestational age.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Austria
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Carotid Artery, Common / physiology
  • Carotid Intima-Media Thickness*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Femoral Artery / physiology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature / physiology*
  • Infant, Small for Gestational Age / physiology*
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Pulse Wave Analysis*