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Carotid wave analysis in young adults with a history of adolescent anorexia nervosa: a case control study.

BACKGROUND: Anorexia nervosa (AN) is associated with abnormalities that may increase the risk of future cardiovascular disease. This study assessed the cardiovascular health of individuals who recovered from AN during adolescence by conducting wave power analysis.

METHODS: Former AN patients discharged from the Royal Children's and Monash Children's Hospitals (N = 17) in Melbourne, Australia underwent ultrasound imaging of the right carotid artery. Wave power analysis was conducted to assess biomechanical interactions of the cardiovascular system. Patient measures were compared to healthy controls (N = 51).

RESULTS: Eighty-eight percent of the former AN patients and controls were female, aged approximately 25 years, with a healthy body mass index. Mean carotid flow and pulsatility index were not different between groups. Carotid arterial strain and distensibility were lower, and the wave speed and beta stiffness index higher in the former AN patients. Characteristic impedance was not different nor were the forward and backward wave amplitudes. However, wave reflection indices (ratios of backward-to-forward compression wave area, and wave-related effect on pressure and hydraulic power) were 12-18% lower in the former AN patients (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: Increased carotid artery stiffness and reduced wave reflection are evident in young adults who recovered from adolescent AN. This may relate to an adaptive process that helps to maintain or restore flow and characteristic impedance despite increased vessel stiffness, with this warranting future investigation.

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