Carotid artery intima-media thickness and stiffness index β changes in normal children: role of age, height and sex

Maria Pia Calabrò
Scipione Carerj
Mario Salvatore Russo
Francesco Letterio De Luca
Maria Teresa Naso Onofrio
Francesco Antonini-Canterin
Concetta Zito
Lilia Oreto
Lucia Manuri
Bijoy K. Khandheria, Aurora Cardiovascular Services
Giuseppe Oreto

Aurora Cardiovascular Services, Aurora Sinai/Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Centers, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health


AIMS: The need for early markers of atherosclerosis in paediatric ages has been emphasized recently. Few data are available on the behaviour of carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) and arterial stiffness in normal children.

METHODS: We studied prospectively 131 healthy children (78 boys), aged 3-16 years, by high-definition ultrasonography and echo-tracking technique in order to evaluate cIMT and stiffness index β.

RESULTS: Stiffness index β underwent a significant age-related increase (P < 0.001), and a positive relationship between cIMT and height was found in boys. In addition, stiffness index β and cIMT were not related to each other (P = 0.97).

CONCLUSION: This study provides information about two markers of subclinical atherosclerosis, cIMT and carotid stiffness index β, in normal children aged 3-16 years. We found a significant age-related and height-related increase of stiffness index β in both sexes, whereas cIMT was positively related to height only in boys.