Early cardiac dysfunction in obese adolescents with Down syndrome or autism.

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DOI: 10.1017/S1047951122003158


BACKGROUND: Obesity in adolescents with intellectual and developmental disabilities) occurs at twice the frequency as their typically developing peers. Typically developing adolescents with obesity have abnormal cardiac function (as measured by strain echocardiography) and cardiac mass, but the effects of obesity on cardiac health in adolescents with Down syndrome or autism spectrum disorder are unknown. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of body mass index on cardiac function in adolescents with Down syndrome or autism.

METHODS: Adolescents (age 12-21 years) with Down syndrome (n = 28), autism (n = 33), and age-/sex-matched typically developing controls (n = 15) received an echocardiogram optimised for strain analysis at a single timepoint. Measures of ventricular function, mass, and size were collected. Regression modelling evaluated the impact of body mass index and intellectual and developmental disabilities diagnosis on these cardiac measures.

RESULTS: In regression modelling, an elevated body mass index z-score was associated with diminished systolic biventricular function by global strain (left ventricular longitudinal strain β 0.87, P < 0.001; left ventricular circumferential strain β 0.57, p 0.003; right ventricular longitudinal strain β 0.63, P < 0.001). Diminished left ventricular diastolic function by early diastolic strain rate was also associated with elevated body mass index (global longitudinal end-diastolic strain rate β -0.7, P < 0.001). No association was found between traditional (non-strain) measures of systolic and diastolic ventricular function and body mass index z-score.

CONCLUSIONS: Obesity in adolescents with Down syndrome or autism negatively impacts cardiac function as measured by echocardiographic strain analysis that was not detected by traditional parameters.

Journal Title

Cardiology in the young





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MeSH Keywords

Humans; Adolescent; Child; Young Adult; Adult; Pediatric Obesity; Autistic Disorder; Autism Spectrum Disorder; Down Syndrome; Ventricular Dysfunction, Left; Heart Diseases; Body Mass Index


Body mass index; Cardiac dysfunction; Intellectual and developmental disabilities; Left ventricular mass; Myocardial strain; paediatric obesity

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