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Early childhood hospitalisation with infection and subclinical atherosclerosis in adulthood: The Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study


Burgner, DP and Sabin, MA and Magnussen, CG and Cheung, M and Sun, C and Kahonen, M and Hutri-Kahonen, N and Lehtimaki, T and Jokinen, E and Laitinen, T and Viikari, JS and Raitakari, OT and Juonala, M, Early childhood hospitalisation with infection and subclinical atherosclerosis in adulthood: The Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study, Atherosclerosis, 239, (2) pp. 496-502. ISSN 0021-9150 (2015) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2015 Elsevier

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2015.02.024


Objective: Most infections occur in pre-school children but the severity of the inflammatory response to common pathogens varies considerably. We examined the relationship between early childhood infections of sufficient severity to warrant hospitalisation, and markers of subclinical atherosclerosis in adulthood.

Methods: We investigated whether infection-related hospitalisation (IRH) in early childhood (0-5 years) was associated with adverse non-invasive phenotypes of atherosclerosis (carotid artery distensibility and intima-media thickness (IMT), and brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (FMD)) in adulthood in participants from the Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns study. Analyses were adjusted for age, sex, and socioeconomic status and cardiovascular risk factors in childhood and adulthood. 1043 participants had lifetime IRH data with a mean age at adult follow-up of 33 years.

Results: Brachial FMD levels were significantly lower among individuals with early child IRH (mean ± SEM 8.15 ± 0.37 vs. 9.10 ± 0.16%, p = 0.03). These individuals had a 1.84% (95% CI 0.64–3.04, p = 0.002) greater decrease in FMD over a 6-year interval between two adult follow-ups at mean ages 27 and 33 years. Childhood IRH was associated with increased asymmetrical dimethylarginine (ADMA) in adulthood (0.62 ± 0.01 vs. 0.59 ± 0.01 μmol/l, p = 0.04), adjusted for age, sex, adult body mass index, and serum creatinine. Early childhood IRH was associated with lower carotid distensibility levels (1.95 ± 0.06 vs. 2.09 ± 0.02%/10 mmHg, p = 0.02), but not with carotid intima-media thickness (0.601 ± 0.006 vs. 0.596 ± 0.003 mm). All findings remained unchanged after adjustments for age, sex and conventional cardiovascular risk factors in childhood or adulthood.

Conclusions: Infection-related hospitalisation in the pre-school period was associated with adverse adult atherosclerotic phenotypes and increased ADMA. Infection may contribute to causal pathways leading to the development of endothelial dysfunction and early atherosclerosis.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:child, atherosclerosis, infection, asymmetric dimethylarginine
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Epidemiology
Research Field:Epidemiology not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical health
Objective Field:Clinical health not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Magnussen, CG (Associate Professor Costan Magnussen)
ID Code:99529
Year Published:2015
Funding Support:National Health and Medical Research Council (1037559)
Web of Science® Times Cited:26
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2015-03-26
Last Modified:2017-11-01

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