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Pre-eclampsia exposure ups CVD risk factors in offspring during childhood, early adulthood

12 May 2019

Exposure to pre-eclampsia in utero increases the likelihood of having cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors during childhood and young adulthood, reports a recent meta-analysis.

Accessing the databases of PubMed, the Cochrane Library, Embase and the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, researchers selected for prospective and retrospective studies that investigated CVD risk factors in children and adolescents with vs without in utero pre-eclampsia exposure. Established risk factors, such as blood pressure, lipid profile, blood glucose and body mass index (BMI), were included in the analysis.

A total of 36 studies were eligible for inclusion, 15 of which were included in the analysis of systolic blood pressure (SBP). The resulting pooled sample included 53,029 individuals, of whom 1,599 had been exposed to in utero pre-eclampsia. Children of pre-eclamptic pregnancies had 5.17-mm Hg (95 percent CI, 1.60–8.73) higher SBP than their control counterparts.

In comparison, fourteen studies (n=52,993) were included in the pooled analysis for diastolic BP, which was 4.06 mm Hg (0.67–7.44) higher in those who were exposed to pre-eclampsia in utero (n=1,583).

BMI was the focus of 17 studies, 13 (n=53,293) of which were eligible for quantitative analysis. Those who were exposed to in utero pre-eclampsia (n=1,752) showed 0.36-kg/m2 higher BMI than controls.

No similar effects were observed for the other CVD risk factors: total cholesterol, low-density and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, insulin, and vascular function.

“[T]he findings of this meta-analyses support current literature and suggest that children born after pre-eclamptic pregnancies may benefit from routine blood pressure monitoring and targeted interventions when required,” said researchers.

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