Children born very prematurely who show intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) are suggested to be at risk of developing high blood pressure as adults. Renal function may already be impaired by young adult age. To study whether very preterm birth affects blood pressure in young adults, we measured 24-h ambulatory blood pressure (SpacelabsTM90207 device) and renin concentration in 50 very premature individuals (<32 weeks of gestation), either small (SGA) or appropriate (AGA) for gestational age (21 SGA, 29 AGA), and 30 full-term controls who all were aged 20 years at time of measurement. The mean (standard deviation) daytime systolic blood pressure in SGA and AGA prematurely born individuals, respectively, was 122.7 (8.7) and 123.1 (8.5) mmHg. These values were, respectively, 3.6 mmHg [95% confidence interval (CI) -0.9 to 8.0] and 4.2 mmHg (95% CI 0.4-8.0) higher than in controls [119.6 (7.6)]. Daytime diastolic blood pressure and nighttime blood pressure did not differ between groups. We conclude that individuals born very preterm have higher daytime systolic blood pressure and higher risk of hypertension at a young adult age.

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Keywords Ambulatory blood pressure monitor, Blood pressure, Developmental origins of health and disease, Hypertension, Intrauterine growth retardation, Premature birth
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Journal Pediatric Nephrology
Keijzer-Veen, M.G, Dülger, A, Dekker, F.W, Nauta, J, & van der Heijden, A.J. (2010). Very preterm birth is a risk factor for increased systolic blood pressure at a young adult age. Pediatric Nephrology, 25(3), 509–516. doi:10.1007/s00467-009-1373-9