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Newborns of Obese Mothers Have Thicker Aortic Walls

TUESDAY, March 5 (HealthDay News) -- Maternal adiposity correlates with thickening of the aortic wall in newborns, according to a letter published online Feb. 27 in the Archives of Diseases of Childhood: Fetal Neonatal Edition.

Lisa M. Begg, M.B.B.S., M.P.H., from the Royal Women's Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, and colleagues examined the correlation between maternal adiposity and aortic wall thickening among 23 pregnant women (average age 35.6 years) recruited at an average of 16.3 weeks of gestation. Maternal body mass index (BMI) was calculated and high-resolution ultrasound was performed in neonates (0 to 7 days old) to assess intima-media thickness of the abdominal aorta along a 0.5 to 1.0 cm segment of the dorsal aortic wall, from two loops, each with ≥40 analyzable frames.

The researchers found that the average BMI of participants was 26.0 kg/m² at enrolment. The resulting offspring had an average aortic intima-media thickness of 0.75 mm. There was a significant correlation between maternal BMI and newborn aortic intima-media thickness, independent of birth weight. Comparing newborns of overweight/obese mothers and those of healthy weight mothers, the difference in aortic intima-media thickness was 0.06 mm; the difference was strengthened after adjustment for birth weight.

"We find that maternal adiposity is associated with aortic wall thickening in newborns, independent of birth weight," write the authors. "Future studies may explore whether such associations are present in older children or adults."

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