Purpose Assessment of intima-media thickness (IMT) of the aorta and carotid artery in appropriate for gestational age (AGA) infants during the first 6 months of life after very preterm birth.
Methods Longitudinal ultrasound assessment including 21 very preterm and 29 infants born at term (all AGA) during a six-months period corresponding to the third trimester of pregnancy and the first 3 months after term, measuring aortic and carotid IMT by an angle-corrected M-Mode, and assessment of blood pressure at final follow-up.
Results No differences in aortic or carotid IMT or blood pressure measurements were found between the two groups. However, in relation to vessel lumen diameter, IMT is significantly higher in both arteries in infants born preterm (p=0.003 for aorta and p=0.001 for carotid artery).
Conclusion In relation to vessel diameter, infants born preterm show thickening of the intima-media in the great arteries. It remains to be established whether this relative intima-media thickening persists into childhood and may be a risk marker for future cardiovascular disease among subjects born preterm.