Elevated systolic blood pressure in preterm very-low-birth-weight infants ≤3 years of life

Andrea F. Duncan, Roy J. Heyne, Janet S. Morgan, Naveed Ahmad, Charles R. Rosenfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Preterm, very-low-birth-weight neonates (=1500 gm, VLBW) exhibit elevated systolic blood pressures (SBP) in adolescence and adulthood; however, the age of onset and causes are unknown. We assessed SBP in a cross-sectional study of VLBWinfants at 1, 2 and 3 years of age (n = 40 per cohort). SBP was manually measured using Doppler amplification (observed), and calm values were compared to reference ranges used for clinical purposes (expected). SBP was converted to age-, gender- and height-specific z-scores (SBPz). Perinatal variables and growth parameters measured between 6 and 36 months were assessed as predictors of an elevated SBP. Observed SBP and SBPz exceeded the expected value at each age (P<0.01); for example 1 year SBP was 94±10 (standard deviation) vs. 85±3 mmHg, respectively. Although the expected SBP rose from 85±3 to 90±3 mmHg with advancing age (P<0.05), VLBW SBP was unchanged (P>0.1), averaging 93 mmHg across ages. Height and weight z-scores were below expected (P<0.01), while weight-for-height z-scores exceeded zero at 6, 12 and 24 months (P<0.05). Male subscapular skinfold thickness:abdominal circumference ratio decreased with advancing age, paralleling the decreases in SBPz. The VLBW neonates demonstrated an elevated SBP as early as 1 year of age. Although predictive perinatal variables were not identified, gender-specific relationships between infant growth and SBP were observed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1115-1121
Number of pages7
JournalPediatric Nephrology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2011


  • Adiposity
  • Infant growth
  • Perinatal-neonatal events
  • Z-scores

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Nephrology


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