Children born through IVF may have higher risk of hypertension

September 03, 2018

Children conceived through assisted reproductive technologies may be at an increased risk of developing arterial hypertension early in life, among other cardiovascular complications, according to a Swiss study published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Developed in 1978, assisted reproductive technologies (ART) has helped millions of individuals and families who cannot conceive naturally. The most common ART methods are in vitro fertilization and intracytoplasmic sperm injection, which can expose the gamete and embryo to a variety of environmental factors before implantation. Children conceived using ART make up 1.7 percent of all infants born in the United States every year and currently over six million persons worldwide.

The study authors assessed the circulatory system of 54 young, healthy ART adolescents (mean age 16) by measuring ambulatory blood pressure, as well as plaque build-up, blood vessel function and artery stiffness. Body mass index, birth weight, gestational age, and maternal BMI, smoking status and cardiovascular risk profile were similar between the ART adolescents and 43 age- and sex-matched control participants.

Through 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring, researchers discovered that ART adolescents had both a higher systolic and diastolic blood pressure than the control participants of natural conception at 119/71 mmHg versus 115/69, respectively. Most importantly, eight of the ART adolescents reached the criteria for the diagnosis of arterial hypertension (over 130/80 mmHg) whereas only one of the control participants met the criteria.

"The increased prevalence of arterial hypertension in ART participants is what is most concerning," said Emrush Rexhaj, MD, director of Arterial Hypertension and Altitude Medicine at Inselspital, University Hospital in Bern, Switzerland and the lead author of the study. "There is growing evidence that ART alters the blood vessels in children, but the long-term consequences were not known. We now know that this places ART children at a six times higher rate of hypertension than children conceived naturally."

The authors also studied these participants five years before this study and found that the arterial blood pressure between ART and control children was not different.

"It only took five years for differences in arterial blood pressure to show," Rexhaj said. "This is a rapidly growing population and apparently healthy children are showing serious signs of concern for early cardiovascular risk, especially when it comes to arterial hypertension."

In an accompanying editorial, Larry A. Weinrauch, MD, cardiologist at Mount Auburn Hospital said that the study's small cohort may understate the importance of this problem for ART adolescents, especially since multiple birth pregnancies and maternal risk factors (such as eclampsia, chronic hypertension and diabetes) were excluded from the study.

"Early study, detection and treatment of ART conceived individuals may be the appropriate course of preventative action," Weinrauch said. "We need to be vigilant in the development of elevated blood pressure among children conceived through ART to implement early lifestyle-based modifications and, if necessary, pharmacotherapy."

Limitations of this study include that only single-birth children were studied, as well as that participants were recruited from one procreation center. Prematurity, low birth weight and preeclampsia (all known cardiovascular risk factors) were excluded from the study. These limitations may have resulted in a lower cardiovascular risk among the participants compared to the overall ART population.
-end-
The American College of Cardiology is the professional home for the entire cardiovascular care team. The mission of the College and its more than 52,000 members is to transform cardiovascular care and to improve heart health. The ACC leads in the formation of health policy, standards and guidelines. The College operates national registries to measure and improve care, offers cardiovascular accreditation to hospitals and institutions, provides professional medical education, disseminates cardiovascular research and bestows credentials upon cardiovascular specialists who meet stringent qualifications. For more, visit acc.org.

The Journal of the American College of Cardiology ranks among the top cardiovascular journals in the world for its scientific impact. JACC is the flagship for a family of journals--JACC: Cardiovascular Interventions, JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging, JACC: Heart Failure, JACC: Clinical Electrophysiology and JACC: Basic to Translational Science--that prides themselves in publishing the top peer-reviewed research on all aspects of cardiovascular disease. Learn more at JACC.org.

American College of Cardiology

Related Hypertension Articles from Brightsurf:

Risk of target organ damage in patients with masked hypertension versus sustained hypertension
In a new publication from Cardiovascular Innovations and Applications; DOI https://doi.org/10.15212/CVIA.2019.1261, Yue Wu, Guoyue Zhang, Rong Hu and Jianlin Du from The Second Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing, China consider the risk of target organ damage in patients with masked hypertension versus sustained hypertension.

Overactive enzyme causes hereditary hypertension
After more than 40 years, several teams at the MDC and ECRC have now made a breakthrough discovery with the help of two animal models: they have proven that an altered gene encoding the enzyme PDE3A causes an inherited form of high blood pressure.

Diagnosing hypertension in children
Study results call into question the utility of testing blood pressure load--the proportion of elevated blood pressure readings detected over 24 hours--for diagnosing hypertension in children.

When the best treatment for hypertension is to wait
A new study concluded that a physician's decision not to intensify hypertension treatment is often a contextually appropriate choice.

Treatment of hypertension induced albuminuria
Patients with albuminuria will usually need more than one drug to achieve blood pressure control, particularly if the aim is also to reduce albuminuria.

Diagnosing and treating resistant hypertension
Resistant blood pressure affects 12 percent to 15 percent of people currently being treated for high blood pressure.

Dementia can be caused by hypertension
A new study in Cardiovascular Research indicates that patients with high blood pressure are at a higher risk of developing dementia.

Hormone imbalance causes treatment-resistant hypertension
British researchers have discovered a hormone imbalance that explains why it is very difficult to control blood pressure in around 10 per cent of hypertension patients.

Breastfeeding reduces hypertension risk
A study published in the American Journal of Hypertension indicates that women who breastfeed more children, and for longer periods of time, are less likely to suffer from hypertension after they reach menopause.

Lung cancer triggers pulmonary hypertension
Nearly half of all advanced-stage lung cancer patients develop arterial pulmonary hypertension.

Read More: Hypertension News and Hypertension Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.