OBJECTIVE: It has been documented that heart transplantation in children is often complicated by arterial hypertension and increased arterial stiffness. We use innovative multi-site photoplethysmography (MPPG) pulse measurement and analysis technology to assess changes in arterial stiffness in paediatric heart transplant recipients (HTRs) in comparison with healthy control (HC) children.
APPROACH: A group of 20 HTRs (median age 13.5 years, eight male) were compared to an overall age- and gender-matched group of 161 HCs (median age 11.6 years, 74 male). Peripheral pulse was recorded bilaterally using MPPG at the ear lobe, index finger and great toe sites, along with an electrocardiogram cardiac timing reference. Segmental pulse arrival times between peripheral sites (finger-ear, PATf-e; toe-finger, PATt-f; and toe-ear PATt-e) were calculated as arterial stiffness measures, and differences between subject groups were tested using multivariate analysis. Normalised ear, finger and toe pulse shapes were also studied and compared between groups.
MAIN RESULTS: After correction for heart rate and diastolic and mean arterial blood pressures, the HTR group was found to have significantly lower segmental PATt-e and PATt-f measurements, with median values of 150 ms versus 172 ms in the HC group (p = 0.02), and 104 ms versus 118 ms in the HC group (p = 0.01), respectively, consistent with increased arterial stiffness in the patient group. The normalised ear, finger and toe sites showed only a mild elongation in each pulse rise time for the transplant group.
SIGNIFICANCE: This study shows that innovative and easy-to-do MPPG gives further evidence for increased arterial stiffness in children who have undergone successful cardiac transplantation.
- Heart Transplantation/adverse effects
- Vascular Stiffness