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Eur J Pediatr. 2011 Jun;170(6):719-29. doi: 10.1007/s00431-010-1328-y. Epub 2010 Oct 27.

Increased intima-media thickness of the carotid artery in childhood: a systematic review of observational studies.

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Centre d'Investigation Clinique, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire, 59000, Lille, France. Christophe.Lamotte@CHRU-LILLE.FR


Increased carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) in adults may be caused by a childhood exposure to cardiovascular risk factors. We systematically reviewed observational studies to determine whether obesity, insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM), dyslipidemia (DL), hypertension (HT), and chronic renal failure (CRF) are associated with increased cIMT in children and adolescent patients compared with control subjects. We performed a PubMed literature search from January 1986 to February 2010. Two reviewers separately verified the inclusion criteria of relevant studies for the objective of the review. The data extracted in the patient and control groups were sample size, age, gender, cIMT measurement methods, cIMT values, and statistical analysis results. From 348 citations, 65 cross-sectional studies (2 cited twice) with case-control design met the inclusion criteria: 26 in obesity, 14 in IDDM, 11 in DL, 8 in HT, and 8 in CRF. cIMT measurement protocols varied according to the studies, with measurements being performed on the common carotid artery in 65/67 cases and on the far wall in 57/67 cases. From the 67 studies cited, 22/26 reported a significantly increased cIMT in obese children and adolescents compared with the control group, 8/14 in IDDM patients, 10/11 in DL patients, 7/8 in HT patients, and 8/8 in CRF patients.


Despite the heterogeneity of ultrasound measurement methods, cIMT was significantly increased in 55 out of the 67 cited studies, confirming early vascular damages in pediatric populations with an increased future risk for vascular diseases.

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