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Title: The impact of preeclampsia on the cardiovascular phenotype of offspring in early life
Author: Davis, Esther F.
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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In recent times the potential impact of preeclampsia on the cardiovascular health of offspring has been identified. This thesis explores the relationship between preeclampsia and offspring cardiovascular phenotype during the first three decades of life. A systematic review and meta-analysis provided evidence that there was increased blood pressure and BMI in the offspring of preeclamptic pregnancies (n = 45,249). There was however limited data on metabolic features and inadequate characterisation of the degree of prematurity or growth restriction in existing literature. I therefore studied data on two birth cohorts with up to 28 years of detailed prospective follow up (n = 2868 and n = 926). Those born very preterm to preeclamptic pregnancies had transient perinatal reductions in insulin and cholesterol, although extreme prematurity was the only determinant of variation in cardiovascular risk in later life, with changes in both metabolism and blood pressure. In those born closer to, or at term, gestation was no longer relevant and an independent impact of preeclampsia on blood pressure was evident, so that by age 20, those born at term to preeclamptic pregnancies were four and a half times more likely to demonstrate clinically-apparent hypertension. I then investigated whether there were changes in other features of cardiovascular phenotype, independent of blood pressure, in preterm neonates born following preeclampsia (n = 46). At 3 months of age preterm infants born to hypertensive pregnancies had subclinical alterations in cardiac strain, independent of gestation or birth weight but not differences in blood pressure, or microvascular structure. These findings highlight preeclampsia and prematurity as key, independent perinatal factors, important in determining cardiovascular phenotype and risk during early life. Preeclampsia is associated with a specific lean, hypertensive phenotype, associated with cardiac functional alterations; these findings begin to define a distinct at risk population who may require targeted preventative interventions.
Supervisor: Leeson, Paul Sponsor: Clarendon Fund
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Cardiovascular disease ; Disease prevention ; Epidemiology ; Medical sciences ; Paediatrics ; preeclampsia ; offspring ; cardiovascular risk ; early life ; hypertension ; diabetes ; obesity ; cardiac strain ; microvascular function ; infants ; children ; young adults