Pediatric precursors of adult cardiovascular disease: Noninvasive assessment of early vascular changes in children and adolescents

Judith A. Groner, Mandar Joshi, John A. Bauer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND. Until recently, our understanding of the childhood antecedents of adult cardiovascular disease was limited mainly to autopsy studies and pathologic findings in teens and young adults who died from accidental causes. Recent advances in the understanding of atherosclerosis and new technologies allowing detection of early events have made it possible to observe anatomic and physiologic evidence of cardiovascular disease in young adults and children. OBJECTIVES. The goal of this article was to introduce pediatricians to new methods for noninvasive measurement of cardiovascular disease and its precursors, to describe the potential application of these techniques in detecting childhood precursors of adult cardiovascular disease, and to summarize knowledge gained from this approach. METHODS.We conducted a computerized search of peer-reviewed articles listed in PubMed and Medline from 1980 to April 2006. We reviewed 63 and 84 articles from the adult and pediatric literature, respectively. RESULTS. Reviewing the research on childhood antecedents of adult cardiovascular disease is sobering. Vascular alterations in anatomy, physiology, mechanical properties, and proinflammatory and prothrombotic changes are present from a very early age of childhood and are associated with the risk factors common in adult cardiovascular disease. At the same time, this body of research supports the concept that the vascular impairment from childhood may improve over time with appropriate intervention. CONCLUSIONS. The measurement tools and concepts described in this article offer diagnostic and therapeutic opportunities for collaboration between clinical pediatricians and pediatric researchers. These partnerships will enable pediatricians to contribute in an effort to reduce the burdens of cardiovascular disease to individuals, families, and society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1683-1691
Number of pages9
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2006


  • Arterial distensibility
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Childhood obesity
  • Flow-mediated dilation
  • Homocysteine
  • Inflammation
  • Intima-medial thickness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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