Cardiac and Vascular Consequences of Pre-Hypertension in Youth


Elaine Urbina, MD, MS, Director, Preventive Cardiology, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, 3333 Burnet Avenue, MLC-7002, Cincinnati, OH 45229


Hypertension is associated with increased left ventricular mass (LVM) and carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT), which predict cardiovascular (CV) events in adults. Whether target organ damage is found in pre-hypertensive youth is not known. The authors measured body mass index, blood pressure, fasting glucose, insulin, lipids and C-reactive protein, LVM/height2.7 (LVM index), diastolic function, cIMT, carotid stiffness, augmentation index, brachial artery distensibility, and pulse wave velocity (PWV) in 723 patients aged 10 to 23 years (29% with type 2 diabetes mellitus). Patients were stratified by blood pressure level (normotensive: 531, pre-hypertensive: 65, hypertensive: 127). Adiposity and CV risk factors worsened across blood pressure group. There was a graded increase in cIMT, arterial stiffness, and LVM index and decrease in diastolic function from normotension to pre-hypertension to hypertension. In multivariable models adjusted for CV risk factors, status as pre-hypertension or hypertension remained an independent determinant of target organ damage for LVM, diastolic function, internal cIMT, and carotid and arterial stiffness. Pre-hypertension is associated with cardiovascular target organ damage in adolescents and young adults.

J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2011;13:332–342. ©2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.