Noninvasive measures of vascular health are reliable in preschool-aged children
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Measures of vascular health are known to be important predictors of cardiovascular disease in adulthood. The reliability of commonly used measures of vascular health has been demonstrated in school-aged children, adolescents, and adults; however, their reliability in preschool-aged children remains to be determined. Twenty 2- to 6-year-old children participated in 2 identical testing sessions on different days. Following 10 min of supine rest, carotid artery blood pressures and common carotid artery images were assessed simultaneously for 10 heart cycles, using applanation tonometry and B-mode ultrasound, respectively, while electrocardiogram (ECG) and infrared measures of arterial pressure waves at the dorsalis pedis were recorded continuously. Brachial artery blood pressures were determined using an automated oscillometric device. Carotid artery diameters and intima-media thickness (IMT) were analyzed using a semiautomated detection software program. Carotid compliance, distensibility, and stiffness index were calculated from carotid diameters and carotid blood pressures. Whole-body pulse-wave velocity (PWV) was determined from the time delay between the R spike of the ECG and the foot of the dorsalis pedis arterial pressure wave. Reliability of all measures was assessed using the coefficient of variation (CV) and the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC). The most reliable measures were carotid artery IMT and PWV with CVs of 2.6% and 3.5% and ICCs of 0.86 and 0.76, respectively. The lower reliability of carotid compliance and distensibility (ICC≤0.63) is likely attributable to the variability of blood pressure measurements. This study confirms that vascular measurements demonstrate substantial reliability in preschool-aged children as young as 2 years.
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