Oral or Poster Presentation
Concurrent Session 2C - DOHaD
Introduction: In Canada, 8% of births are premature (<37 weeks) and 1.5% are very premature (<29 weeks). Preterm birth causes alterations in cardiovascular structure and function that persist into adulthood and are associated with increased risks for cardiovascular disease. Our lab and others report higher blood pressure (BP) in young adults born very preterm (PT) versus term-born controls (T). To this day, no study explored the effect of an intervention to lower BP in PT individuals. We designed the current study to test the hypothesis that physical activity will lower BP in our PT participants.
Methods: An interventional clinical trial (ClinicalTrials.gov ID: NCT03504215) evaluating the effect of a 14-week physical activity program. The program consists of two supervised 90 min. sessions/week and one 30 min. session/week at-home. Ambulatory 24h BP measures were acquired pre- and post-intervention. Results (median [interquartile range]) are compared by Wilcoxon signed-rank test.
Results: We recruited 47 participants to this day, of which 28 (10 PT and 18 T, 60%) completed pre- and post-intention visits. There was no anthropometric differences pre- vs post-intervention in either group. Following the 14-week program, PT participants improved their mean 24h systolic BP (pre- vs post-intervention: 120 [110–125] vs 114 [107–120] mmHg, p=0,123) and had less systolic measures above the cut-offs (>130mmHg daytime, >110mmHg nighttime) for stage 1 hypertension (pre- vs post-intervention: 38% [6%–57%] vs 15% [6%–26%], p=0,064). Such differences were not observed for T participants (24h systolic BP: 112 [108–117] vs 113.5 [104.5–119] mmHg, p=0,581; systolic measures above cut-off: 9% [3%–25%] vs 12% [2%–30%], p=0,845).
Conclusion: These preliminary results show for the first time potential for improving BP in the PT population through exercise intervention. Results need to be confirmed by analysis of data from this clinical trial once recruitment has been completed.