Increased carotid and femoral intima-media thickness in patients after repair of aortic coarctation: influence of early repair

Joris W J Vriend, Eric de Groot, Tim T de Waal, Frank M Zijta, John J P Kastelein, Barbara J M Mulder
American Heart Journal 2006, 151 (1): 242-7

BACKGROUND: In patients, after repair of aortic coarctation, abnormal function of the proximal precoarctation arterial conduits has been demonstrated, but data on arterial wall structure of proximal and distal arteries in patients are scarce. The aim of our study is to compare intima-media thickness (IMT) of the carotid and femoral arteries in controls and patients after coarctation repair and to identify independent predictors of carotid and femoral IMT.

METHODS: A total of 137 patients after repair of aortic coarctation (89 male, median age 29.7 years, range 17-74 years, and median age at repair 6.3 years, range 0.01-46 years) and 46 age-matched controls underwent ambulatory blood pressure monitoring and B-mode ultrasound of the carotid and femoral arteries.

RESULTS: Twenty (15%) of the 137 patients were operated on before the age of 1 year ("early repair"). The patients with an early repair were younger compared to the controls and compared with the patients with a late repair (24.5 [10.5] vs 31.6 [8.4] years, P = .005, and vs 32.1 [10.5] years, P < .001, respectively). Eighty patients (59%) had hypertension on the basis of the results of the ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (mean daytime blood pressure > or = 135/85 mm Hg). The prevalence of hypertension was not significantly different between patients with an early or late repair. Although patients with an early repair were younger, both carotid and femoral IMT were increased in these patients compared to controls (common carotid artery 0.57 [0.11] vs 0.49 [0.07] mm, P < .001; common femoral artery 0.48 [0.10] vs 0.44 [0.05] mm, P = .033). In multivariable regression analyses, age at repair was only an independent predictor of femoral and not of carotid IMT.

CONCLUSIONS: Patients, after repair of aortic coarctation, have increased carotid and femoral IMT despite normal ambulatory blood pressures and successful previous repair. Early repair seems to preserve postcoarctation arterial wall structure, but seems to have only limited effect on precoarctation vessel walls, which supports the theory of a developmental defect of the proximal aorta and its branches.


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