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Acta Paediatr. 2008 Aug;97(8):1080-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2008.00890.x.

Preterm birth and maternal smoking in pregnancy are strong risk factors for aortic narrowing in adolescence.

Author information

1
Department of Woman and Child Health, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden. anna-karin.edstedt.bonamy@ki.se

Abstract

AIM:

Preterm transition from foetal to neonatal circulation might permanently alter aortic growth and development. To test this hypothesis, we measured aortic dimensions in adolescents born very preterm.

METHODS:

Eighty-six healthy 15-year-old subjects were studied; 45 born very preterm at an average gestational age of 28 weeks (birth weight < 1500 g) and 41 controls born at term. Using a pulse-gated Fiesta sequence on a 1.5T MR-scanner, 25 images were collected within the heart cycle at several levels of the descending aorta. End-diastolic cross-sectional areas were semi-automatically calculated using an active contour model.

RESULTS:

Subjects born preterm had narrower aortic lumen. The difference was 16% in the thoracic and 19% in the abdominal aorta after adjustment for body surface area and gender (p < 0.001). Maternal smoking in pregnancy was also found to be an independent risk factor for aortic narrowing in the offspring (difference 10%-13% throughout the aorta vs. offspring to nonsmoking mothers). Adolescents born preterm had higher systolic and diastolic blood pressures; however, blood pressures did not correlate with aortic size or maternal smoking during pregnancy.

CONCLUSION:

Very preterm birth and exposure to maternal smoking in foetal life are independent and strong risk factors for general aortic narrowing 15 years after birth.

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