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Highly Accessed Review

Cardiovascular risk in pediatric-onset rheumatological diseases

Julie Barsalou1, Timothy J Bradley23 and Earl D Silverman134*

Author affiliations

1 Division of Rheumatology, The Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, 555 University Avenue, Toronto, ON, Canada M5G 1X8

2 Division of Cardiology, The Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, 555 University Avenue, Toronto, ON, Canada M5G 1X8

3 Department of Pediatrics, University of Toronto, 555 University Avenue, Toronto, ON, Canada M5G 1X8

4 Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute, 555 University Avenue, Toronto, ON, Canada M5G 1X8

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Citation and License

Arthritis Research & Therapy 2013, 15:212  doi:10.1186/ar4212

Published: 22 May 2013

Abstract

Cardiovascular morbidity and mortality are becoming major health concerns for adults with inflammatory rheumatic diseases. The enhanced atherogenesis in this patient population is promoted by the exposure to traditional risk factors as well as nontraditional cardiovascular insults, such as corticosteroid therapy, chronic inflammation and autoantibodies. Despite definite differences between many adult-onset and pediatric-onset rheumatologic diseases, it is extremely likely that atherosclerosis will become the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in this pediatric patient population. Because cardiovascular events are rare at this young age, surrogate measures of atherosclerosis must be used. The three major noninvasive vascular measures of early atherosclerosis - namely, flow-mediated dilatation, carotid intima-media thickness and pulse wave velocity - can be performed easily on children. Few studies have explored the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors and even fewer have used the surrogate vascular measures to document signs of early atherosclerosis in children with pediatric-onset rheumatic diseases. The objective of this review is to provide an overview on cardiovascular risk and early atherosclerosis in pediatric-onset systemic lupus erythematosus, juvenile idiopathic arthritis and juvenile dermatomyositis patients, and to review cardiovascular preventive strategies that should be considered in this population.