Feasibility of neonatal pulse wave velocity and association with maternal hemoglobin A1c

Sharon Chen*, Shilpa Chetty, Alexander Lowenthal, Jasmine M. Evans, Chau Vu, Katie J. Stauffer, Deirdre Lyell, Elif Seda Selamet Tierney

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Use of non-invasive peripheral arterial tonometry to assess arterial stiffness has not been studied in neonates. Perinatal factors impact childhood vascular health, but the effect in neonates remains to be examined. Objectives: To examine the feasibility of pulse wave velocity (PWV) among healthy term neonates, and to evaluate the effects of perinatal factors on neonatal PWV.

Methods: Pregnant women with singleton gestation presenting for routine care were enrolled. Postnatally, PWV measurements of their neonates were obtained using an arterial tonometer. A variability index was calculated for each PWV measurement. Intra- and inter-observer reproducibility were illustrated with Bland- Altman plots. Medical records were reviewed. Relationships between neonatal PWV and perinatal factors were examined.

Results: PWV measurements were attempted in 76 neonates and successfully obtained in 67 (88%). Using PWV measurements with a variability index ≥ 0.25 (48 neonates), the intraclass coefficient was 0.69. The mean differences (limits of agreement) for intra- and inter-rater reproducibility were 0.02 (-3.64 to 3.60) and 0.34 (-2.23 to 2.39), respectively. Median neonatal PWV was 2.80 m/s (range 0.60-8.40). Neonates of mothers with HgbA1c ≥ 6% had significantly higher PWV than neonates of mothers with HgbA1c <6% (4.12 m/s, 95% CI 3.22-5.02, vs. 2.78 m/s, 95% CI 2.28-3.28, p = 0.02).

Conclusions: Neonatal PWV using peripheral arterial tonometry is feasible and reproducible when using measurements with a variability index = 0.25. Neonates of mothers with increased HgbA1c had higher PWV, suggesting an effect of maternal hyperglycemia on neonatal vasculature. The long-term implications of this finding warrant further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-26
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - 17 Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Maternal hemoglobin A
  • Neonatal vascular health
  • Pulse wave velocity


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