Cardiac US reveals link between childhood obesity and pulmonary hypertension

September 13, 2006

A report released in June at the 17th Annual Scientific Sessions of the American Society of Echocardiography in Baltimore, Md., describes how ultrasonography of the heart can identify pulmonary hypertension in children who are obese and experience sleep apnea. The finding was an outcome of a study of the prevalence of pulmonary hypertension in children who have systemic hypertension.

A report released in June at the 17th Annual Scientific Sessions of the American Society of Echocardiography in Baltimore, Md., describes how ultrasonography of the heart can identify pulmonary hypertension in children who are obese and experience sleep apnea. The finding was an outcome of a study of the prevalence of pulmonary hypertension in children who have systemic hypertension.

After other causes of pulmonary hypertension were excluded, 67% of affected children had sleep apnea and a significant percentage was obese.

"We know that obesity and sleep apnea are linked," said Monesha Gupta-Malhotra, MBBS, one of the investigators. "What we have learned from this study is that heart ultrasound can often detect unsuspected abnormalities such as pulmonary hypertension in young patients who have other risk factors. This finding may lead to life-saving treatment that otherwise may not have been offered."