Altered Cardiovascular Rhythmicity in Children Born Small for Gestational Age
Low birth weight is frequently associated with a disproportionately high incidence of cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, and kidney disease in adulthood. Epidemiological studies have identified an inverse association between low birth weight or being small for gestational age and hypertension in adulthood. We hypothesized that children born with low birth weight might have altered circadian and ultradian cardiovascular rhythmicity independent of the prevailing blood pressure level. Twenty-four–hour ambulatory blood pressure and heart rate rhythmicity was prospectively evaluated by Fourier analysis in a cohort of healthy children born with low birth weight and compared with normative pediatric data. Seventy-five children born small for gestational age (mean age, 8.1±2.2 years) and 139 controls matched for age and sex were investigated. In addition to increased 24-hour, daytime, and especially nighttime blood pressure levels (P<0.05), children born small for gestational age exhibited blunted circadian (24-hour) and ultradian (12-, 8-, and 6-hour) blood pressure rhythmicity (P<0.05). In a multivariate analysis including children born with low birth weight and controls, being born with low birth weight independently influenced ultradian blood pressure rhythmicity, whereas in a multivariate analysis including children born with low birth weight only, circadian and ultradian rhythms were independently influenced by catch-up growth, gestational age, and blood pressure level. This study demonstrates blunted circadian and ultradian cardiovascular rhythmicity in prepubertal children born small for gestational age, independent from the presence of arterial hypertension. Circadian and ultradian rhythms may be sensitive indicators for detecting subtle early abnormalities of cardiovascular regulation.
- small for gestational age
- low birth weight
- blood pressure
- circadian and ultradian cardiovascular rhythmicity
- Received April 11, 2012.
- Revision received April 25, 2012.
- Accepted June 5, 2012.
- © 2012 American Heart Association, Inc.