Preterm Birth and Hypertension: Is There a Link?
Bertagnolli M., Luu TM., Lewandowski AJ., Leeson P., Nuyt AM.
Factors in perinatal life have recently been recognized as determinants of later life health and diseases, especially hypertension. The detection of higher values of blood pressure in preterm-born individuals reaching adulthood has turned the attention to preterm birth-related complications and deleterious conditions as factors triggering early cardiovascular alterations, which may increase hypertension risk and associated complications in this population. Further, preterm birth is frequently associated with pregnancy complications such as lower placental perfusion, increased blood pressure in the mother and preeclampsia, often resulting in intrauterine growth restriction. These conditions further impact the risk of hypertension in the offspring whether through inherited genetic factors or perpetuated pathophysiology leading to preeclampsia, preterm delivery, and chronic hypertension. In this review, we will highlight evidence of developmental cardiovascular alterations and potential mechanisms linking preterm birth to the risk of hypertension and cardiovascular diseases into adulthood.