Background: Children with obesity have hypertrophic cardiac remodeling. Hypertension is common in pediatric obesity, and may independently contribute to hypertrophy. We hypothesized that both the degree of obesity and ambulatory blood pressure (ABP) would independently associate with measures of hypertrophic cardiac remodeling in children.

Methods: Children, aged 8–17 years, prospectively underwent cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) and ABP monitoring. Left ventricular (LV) mass indexed to height2.7(LVMI), myocardial thickness and end-diastolic volume were quantified from a 3D LV model reconstructed from cine balanced steady state free precession images. Categories of remodeling were determined based on cutoff values for LVMI and mass/volume. Principal component analysis was used to define a “hypertrophy score” to study the continuous relationship between concentric hypertrophy and ABP.

Results: Seventy-two children were recruited, and 68 of those (37 healthy weight and 31 obese/overweight) completed both CMR and ABP monitoring. Obese/overweight children had increased LVMI (27 ± 4 vs 22 ± 3 g/m2.7, p < 0.001), myocardial thickness (5.6 ± 0.9 vs 4.9 ± 0.7 mm, p < 0.001), mass/volume (0.69 ± 0.1 vs 0.61 ± 0.06, p < 0.001), and hypertrophy score (1.1 ± 2.2 vs −0.96 ± 1.1, p < 0.001). Thirty-five percent of obese/overweight children had concentric hypertrophy. Ambulatory hypertension was observed in 26% of the obese/overweight children and none of the controls while masked hypertension was observed in 32% of the obese/overweight children and 16% of the controls. Univariate linear regression showed that BMI z-score, systolic BP (24 h, day and night), and systolic load correlated with LVMI, thickness, mass/volume and hypertrophy score, while 24 h and nighttime diastolic BP and load also correlated with thickness and mass/volume. Multivariate analysis showed body mass index z-score and systolic blood pressure were both independently associated with left ventricular mass index (β=0.54 [p < 0.001] and 0.22 [p = 0.03]), thickness (β=0.34 [p < 0.001] and 0.26 [p = 0.001]) and hypertrophy score (β=0.47 and 0.36, both p < 0.001).

Conclusions: In children, both the degree of obesity and ambulatory blood pressures are independently associated with measures of cardiac hypertrophic remodeling, however the correlations were generally stronger for the degree of obesity. This suggests that interventions targeted at weight loss or obesity-associated co-morbidities including hypertension may be effective in reversing or preventing cardiac remodeling in obese children.

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Published in Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance, v. 19, 86, p. 1-11.

© The Author(s). 2017

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This project was supported by the NIH via grants P20 GM103527 and UL1 TR000117, and by the American Heart Association Great Rivers Affiliate via grant 14POST20310025.

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The datasets generated and/or analyzed during the current study are available on reasonable request with approval of the corresponding author.