Retrograde shift in carotid artery longitudinal wall motion after one-year follow-up in children
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BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Cross-sectional studies suggest that arterial stiffness increases during childhood; however, this evidence stems from pressure-dependent arterial distension, while longitudinal movement of the arterial wall has not been explored. Carotid artery longitudinal wall motion (CALM) has been identified as a novel biomarker of vascular health in adults and may provide complementary biaxial wall information to vascular changes during childhood development. Accordingly, the purpose of this study was to assess how CALM changes and tracks over a one-year period in young children. METHODS: Children were recruited from the Health Outcomes and Physical activity in Preschoolers study (n = 114; 65 girls; age: 5.8 ± 0.9 years-old). CALM was measured at the left common carotid artery using ultrasound with speckle tracking. RESULTS: There were increases in CALM magnitudes over one-year follow-up, including systolic retrograde, diastolic, maximum, and total radial-axial displacement (all p < 0.01), with no differences between boys and girls. With the exception of systolic anterograde displacement, all CALM variables tracked better in girls than in boys, both individually (Spearman's ρ ranges: 0.49-0.61 vs. 0.25-0.47), as well as when split into tertile groups (Cohen's weighted κ ranges: 0.43-0.60 vs. 0.16-0.44), indicating overall moderate tracking (κ > 0.40) in the entire cohort. CONCLUSIONS: CALM displacements change rapidly during childhood and track into pre-pubescence in a sex-specific manner. These findings suggest that CALM is influenced by individual factors that track consistently, and that similar to arterial stiffness, it may be valuable to examine the age-associated changes in CALM magnitudes to infer changes in child vascular health over time.
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