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J Hum Hypertens. 2011 Jul;25(7):457-64. doi: 10.1038/jhh.2010.84. Epub 2010 Aug 19.

The effect of feto-maternal size and childhood growth on left ventricular mass and arterial stiffness in Afro-Caribbean children.

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  • 1Tropical Medicine Research Institute, University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica, West Indies.


We hypothesized that maternal size, fetal size and childhood growth are associated with childhood blood pressure, left ventricular mass (LVM) and arterial stiffness. The Vulnerable Windows Cohort is a longitudinal study of 569 mothers and their offspring. Anthropometry was measured on each child at birth, at 6 weeks, once in 3 months upto 2 years and then every 6 months. Blood pressure and body composition were assessed in 185 children (age 11.5 years) and echocardiography performed. LVM was not associated with maternal size after adjustment for child's weight. LVM was significantly associated with faster growth in childhood and with current weight, fat mass and lean mass. Systolic blood pressure was not related to maternal, fetal or newborn anthropometry, but was positively associated with infant and childhood growth, as well as current body size and fat mass. The pulse pressure/stroke volume ratio (an index of arterial stiffness) was inversely associated with maternal size, placental volume at 20 weeks, fetal size at 35 weeks and childhood growth even after adjustment for current weight. In conclusion, LVM in childhood is positively associated with maternal height, child's current size and rate of growth. Arterial stiffness is inversely related to maternal, fetal and placental size as well as growth throughout childhood.

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