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Assisted reproductive technologies is associated with an increased cardiovascular risk in childhood

Barcelona, September 18th original new

Bart Bijnens, ICREA researcher of Department of Information and Communication Technologies (DTIC) and coordinator of PhySense group, has participated in a study conducted by researchers from Hospital Clinic de Barcelona-IDIBAPS, and is co-author of a study published in Circulation, the official journal of the American Heart Association, which has evaluated the effect of assisted reproductive techniques (IVF) in cardiovascular health of children. The study shows that fetuses conceived by assisted reproductive techniques have changes in their heart and arteries that start before birth and persist postnatally. These changes are similar to those of children with severe diabetes or obesity and represent a significant increase in the cardiovascular risk in adulthood. The great importance of the study published in Circulation is that it offers the opportunity to reverse this situation from the beginning of life.

The study was conducted from the Hospital Clínic - IDIBAPS of Barcelona by Drs. Eduard Gratacós and John Balasch, the ICGON and the Center for Fetal Medicine Research, and its first authors are Drs. Brenda Valenzuela and Fatima Crispi. This is an ambitious study involving Perinatal Medicine and Gynecology services of Hospital Clínic, Cardiology services of the services Hospital Clinic and Sant Joan de Deu and researchers from the Universitat Pompeu Fabra. This research has been possible due to the Obra Social "la Caixa".

In a study of almost three years, the team resxerachers followed 100 IVF and 100 normal pregnancies for almost a year, from mid-pregnancy fetal life until six months of a child's life. Through an ambitious design of the research and a team of doctors from various specialties and engineers, modern techniques were applied to evaluate the movement and deformation of the heart and arteries in both fetal life and in the first months of life.

The results of the study were conclusive: already in utero there are significant changes in the shape and function of the fetal heart, and these changes persisted after delivery, associating with hypertension and an increase in the thickness of the arteries also. All the observed changes in children are considered markers of increased cardiovascular risk in the future, including hypertension and pre-atherosclerosis. For this reason, once evaluated by the experts and accepted the validity of the results, the journal Circulation, the official journal of the American Heart Association and considered the journal having the greatest influence and impact on cardiovascular medicine, has published the article as a priority and has dedicated an editorial.

Article Reference:

Valenzuela-Alcaraz B, Crispi F, Bijnens B, Cruz-Lemini M, Creus M, Sitges M, Bartrons J, Civico S, Balasch J, Gratacós E. Assisted Reproductive Technologies are Associated with Cardiovascular Remodeling in Utero that Persists Postnatally. Circulation. 2013