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J Epidemiol Community Health. 2010 Dec;64(12):1068-73. doi: 10.1136/jech.2009.090894. Epub 2009 Nov 5.

Do gastrointestinal tract infections in infancy increase blood pressure in childhood? A cohort study.

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1
Department of Social Medicine, University of Bristol, 39 Whatley Road, Bristol BS8 2PS, UK. richard.martin@bristol.ac.uk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

It has been hypothesised that dehydration in infancy could permanently increase sodium retention, raising blood pressure in later life. In this study, the association between gastrointestinal tract infection in infancy, a clinically relevant exposure often accompanied by dehydration, and raised blood pressure in childhood was investigated.

METHODS:

Data from a cohort study nested within a cluster-randomised trial of breastfeeding promotion in the Republic of Belarus were analysed. 17 046 healthy breastfed infants were enrolled from 31 maternity hospitals. 13 889 (81.5%) children were followed-up at 6.5 years. Exposure measures were any gastrointestinal infection in infancy (to 1 year) and hospitalisations for gastrointestinal infection in infancy and in childhood (1-6.5 years). The outcomes were systolic and diastolic blood pressure at age 6.5 years.

RESULTS:

The prevalence of any gastrointestinal infection in infancy, and of hospitalisation for gastrointestinal infection in infancy or childhood, was 11.4%, 3.2% and 6.0%, respectively. No associations were observed between systolic blood pressure and any gastrointestinal infection (mean difference in those with minus those without infection -0.04 mm Hg; 95% CI -0.52 to 0.43) or hospitalisation for gastrointestinal infection (difference=-0.22 mm Hg; -1.07 to 0.64) in infancy. Nor were associations observed between diastolic blood pressure and any gastrointestinal infection during infancy or hospitalisation for gastrointestinal infection during infancy or childhood.

CONCLUSION:

No evidence was found to prove that hospitalisation for gastrointestinal infection in infancy or childhood leads to raised blood pressure at age 6.5 years in a developed country setting.

PMID:
19897470
DOI:
10.1136/jech.2009.090894
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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