Early Arterial Intimal Thickening and Plaque Is Related with Treatment Regime and Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors in Young Adults Following Childhood Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation

Johnny Sundholm, Anu Suominen, Taisto Sarkola, Kirsi Jahnukainen
Journal of Clinical Medicine2020
The long-term vascular effects following childhood hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) are not well characterized. We compared arterial wall morphology and function using very-high resolution ultrasound (25-55 MHz) in 62 patients following autologous (n = 19) or allogenic (n = 43) HSCT for childhood malignancies and hematological disease (median age 25.9 years, IQR 21.1-30.1; median follow-up time 17.5 years IQR 14.1-23.0) with an age matched healthy control group (n = 44). Intima-media thickness of carotid (CIMT 0.49 ± 0.11 vs. 0.42 ± 0.06 mm, p < 0.001), brachial, femoral, radial arteries, and local carotid stiffness, but not adventitial thickness, were increased (p < 0.001). Diffuse intimal thickening (>0.06 mm) of femoral or radial arteries (n = 17) and subclinical carotid or femoral plaques (n = 18) were more common (p < 0.001). Radiation predicted plaques (p < 0.001) and local carotid stiffness (p < 0.001), but not intimal thickening. CIMT was predicted by age, BMI >30 kg/m(2), hsCRP >2.5 mg/L, hypertension, HbA1c > 42 mmol/L, and cumulative anthracycline >150 mg/m(2). Cumulative metabolic syndrome criteria and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors were more common among HSCT and related with CIMT (p < 0.001), but CIMT was similar among controls and HSCT without CVD risk factors. Long-term childhood HSCT survivors show early arterial aging related with radiation, metabolic, and CVD risk factors. Prevention of risk factors could potentially decelerate early arterial wall thickening.

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