Cardiovascular risk factors and increased carotid intima-media thickness in young patients with congenital adrenal hyperplasia due to 21-hydroxylase deficiency

ABSTRACT Objective Increased arterial intima-media thickness has been observed in adults with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) due to 21-hydroxylase deficiency (21-OHD). CAH has also been associated with obesity, insulin resistance, and hypertension. The aim of the present study was to compare youths with CAH with healthy, normal-weight individuals, evaluating carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) and indicative factors of cardiovascular risk to seek for abnormalities in the CAH group. Subjects and methods Clinical, biochemical, and ultrasonographic evaluations, according to published criteria, were performed in 113 subjects (5 to 20 years old): 40 patients with 21-OHD and 73 healthy individuals matched for gender, pubertal status, and age. Results Most CAH patients were female (80%), salt-losers (72.5%), and pubescent (80%); 10 (25%) patients were overweight. An increase in CIMT was observed both on the right (p = 0.0240) and left (p = 0.0003) sides in 38 CAH patients compared with the healthy individuals. The body mass index, BMI/age Z score, and systolic blood pressure (SBP) were higher in patients compared with controls (p < 0.000 and p = 0.0219, respectively). Conclusions Findings of increased CIMT, BMI, and SBP in young patients with 21-OHD indicate the need for early identification and intervention regarding cardiovascular risk. Validating these findings might result in improved therapeutic approaches for children with 21-OHD in the future. Arch Endocrinol Metab. 2015;59(6):541-7