Youth Vascular Consortium (YVC) Protocol: Establishing Reference Intervals for Vascular Ageing in Children, Adolescents and Young Adults

Heart Lung Circ. 2021 Nov;30(11):1710-1715. doi: 10.1016/j.hlc.2021.05.107. Epub 2021 Jul 15.


Background: In the last two decades, the global prevalence of paediatric hypertension increased by approximately 75%. Nearly 25% of children are now classified as obese or overweight. Substantial evidence suggests that risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) begin to develop in childhood, thus warranting the need for tools to better screen for early CVD risk in youth. Vascular ageing, the deterioration of vascular structure and function, may be a potentially useful tool for detecting the early and asymptomatic signs of CVD burden. However, it is currently unclear what differentiates normal from pathological ageing in youth as existing reference values for vascular ageing in youth are limited by small sample size or homogenous populations. The international Youth Vascular Consortium (YVC) has been established to address these issues.

Aims: The primary aim of the YVC is to develop reference intervals of normal vascular ageing in children, adolescents, and young adults. The secondary, exploratory, aim is to perform head-to-head comparisons of vascular ageing biomarkers to determine which biomarker is most strongly related to cardiometabolic health.

Study design: The YVC is a retrospective, multicentre study and will collate data on vascular ageing in children (5-12 years), adolescents (13-18 years) and young adults (19-40 years), as well as routine clinical biochemistry, lifestyle, sociodemographic factors and parental health.

Conclusion: To date, 31 research groups from 19 countries have joined the YVC. To our knowledge, this will be the largest study of its kind to investigate vascular ageing in youth.

Keywords: Adolescents; Arterial stiffness; Children; Early vascular ageing; Reference intervals; Young adults.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Aging*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases*
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Multicenter Studies as Topic
  • Reference Values
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult