Association of Placental Pathology With Childhood Blood Pressure Among Children Born Preterm

Jingmiao Long, Mingyu Zhang, Guoying Wang, Xiumei Hong, Yuelong Ji, Blandine Bustamante-Helfrich, Xiaobin Wang, Noel T. Mueller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The in utero pathologies underlying the link between preterm birth and offspring high blood pressure (BP) are still unknown. We investigated the prospective associations of placental histopathological findings with childhood BP among children born preterm. Methods: Our study sample included 546 mother-child pairs with preterm birth (before 37 weeks gestation) enrolled from 1999 to 2013 at the Boston Medical Center. Early preterm birth was defined as gestational age between 23 and 34 weeks. We histologically classified maternal placental pathology using the latest recommended categories: no placental complications, histologic chorioamnionitis, maternal vascular malperfusion, and other placental complications. We calculated age-, sex-, and height-specific systolic BP (SBP) percentiles for children using the 2017 American Academy of Pediatrics Clinical Practice Guideline. We used linear regression models with generalized estimating equations to examine the associations. Results: The mean (standard deviation (SD)) postnatal follow-up of the study children was 9.29 (4.1) years. After adjusting for potential confounders, histologic chorioamnionitis was associated with a 5.42 percentile higher childhood SBP (95% confidence interval: 0.32, 10.52) compared with no placental pathologic findings. This association was stronger among early preterm children. Maternal vascular malperfusion was associated with a 8.44 percentile higher childhood SBP among early preterm children (95% confidence interval: 1.54, 15.34) but the association was attenuated (6.25, 95% confidence interval: -0.76, 13.26) after additional adjustment for child standardized birthweight, a potential mediator of the association. Conclusions: These findings suggest that among children born preterm, especially those born early preterm, both placental histologic chorioamnionitis and vascular malperfusion may help to differentiate a child's risk of high BP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1154-1162
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Hypertension
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2021


  • blood pressure
  • childhood
  • hypertension
  • placental pathology
  • preterm birth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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