Emerging evidence for accelerated ageing and cardiovascular disease in individuals with cerebral palsy
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OBJECTIVE: To examine longitudinal changes in traditional and non-traditional risk factors for cardiovascular disease in individuals with cerebral palsy and to investigate relationships between age, Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) and risk of cardiovascular disease. METHODS: Individuals with cerebral palsy (n = 28 of 53 eligible participants; GMFCS levels I-V; follow-up mean age 35.1 years (standard deviation (SD) 14.4) participated in a longitudinal cohort study with 4.0 years (SD 1.2) follow-up. Traditional risk factors included waist circumference and systolic blood pressure. Non-traditional risk factors included carotid artery intima media thickness and distensibility, carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity, and flow-mediated dilation. RESULTS: Absolute (0.31 mm (SD 0.13) vs 0.22 mm (SD 0.08) , p = 0.045, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 0.040, 0.151) and relative flow-mediated dilation (9.9 % (SD 4.7) vs 7.5 % (SD 2.6), p = 0.049, 95% CI 0.464, 4.42) decreased, while carotid artery intima media thickness (0.52 mm (SD 0.17) vs 0.67 mm (SD 0.33), p = 0.041, 95% CI -0.242, -0.074) increased from baseline to follow-up. No other risk factor changed significantly. Age at baseline was a significant independent predictor of carotid artery intima media thickness change (R-squared = 0.261, p = 0.031). CONCLUSION: Individuals with cerebral palsy experience significant changes in non-traditional risk factors for cardiovascular disease over 4 years, in the face of no changes in traditional risk factors. Compared with findings in the literature from the general population, these risk factors progress at a faster rate and at a younger age in individuals with cerebral palsy.
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