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January 27, 2010

BP control abnormal in newborns of smokers

A new study has found that blood pressure control in infants of smoking mothers is abnormal compared to that of infants from non-smoking parents.
Woman SmokingSwedish researchers reported in Hypertension, Journal of the American Heart Association that newborns of women who smoked during pregnancy show signs of circulatory dysfunction in the first few weeks of life that get worse throughout the first year. The blood pressure response to tilting the infants upright during sleep, a test of how the body copes with repositioning, was dramatically different in infants born to smoking mothers compared to those born to nonsmoking parents, the study found.

Infants not exposed to tobacco experienced only a 2% increase in blood pressure when they were tilted upright at one week of age & later a 10% increase in blood pressure at one year. Infants of smoking mothers had the reverse, a 10% increase in blood pressure during a tilt at one week & only a 4% increase at one year. At three months & one year, the heart rate response to tilting in the tobacco-exposed infants was abnormal & highly exaggerated, researchers reported.

Babies of smokers 've evidence of persistent problems in blood pressure regulation that start at birth & get worse over time,” said Gary Cohen, Ph.D., lead author of the study & senior research scientist in the Department of Women & Child Health at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. “This study reveals for the first time that early life exposure to tobacco can lead to long-lasting reprogramming of infant blood pressure control mechanisms.”

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