Childhood Dyslipidemia and Carotid Atherosclerotic Plaque in Adulthood: The Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study

Juhani S. Koskinen, Ville Kytö, Markus Juonala, Jorma S. A. Viikari, Jaakko Nevalainen, Mika Kähönen, Terho Lehtimäki, Nina Hutri-Kähönen, Tomi P Laitinen, Päivi Tossavainen, Eero Jokinen, Costan G. Magnussen, Olli T. Raitakari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)


Background Childhood exposure to dyslipidemia is associated with adult atherosclerosis, but it is unclear whether the long-term risk associated with dyslipidemia is attenuated on its resolution by adulthood. We aimed to address this question by examining the links between childhood and adult dyslipidemia on carotid atherosclerotic plaques in adulthood. Methods and Results The Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study is a prospective follow-up of children that began in 1980. Since then, follow-up studies have been conducted regularly. In 2001 and 2007, carotid ultrasounds were performed on 2643 participants at the mean age of 36 years to identify carotid plaques and plaque areas. For childhood lipids, we exploited several risk factor measurements to determine the individual cumulative burden for each lipid during childhood. Participants were categorized into the following 4 groups based on their childhood and adult dyslipidemia status: no dyslipidemia (reference), incident, resolved, and persistent. Among individuals with carotid plaque, linear regression models were used to study the association of serum lipids with plaque area. The prevalence of plaque was 3.3% (N=88). In models adjusted for age, sex, and nonlipid cardiovascular risk factors, the relative risk for carotid plaque was 2.34 (95% CI, 0.91-6.00) for incident adult dyslipidemia, 3.00 (95% CI, 1.42-6.34) for dyslipidemia resolved by adulthood, and 5.23 (95% CI, 2.57-10.66) for persistent dyslipidemia. Carotid plaque area correlated with childhood total, low-density lipoprotein, and non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. Conclusions Childhood dyslipidemia, even if resolved by adulthood, is a risk factor for adult carotid plaque. Furthermore, among individuals with carotid plaque, childhood lipids associate with plaque size. These findings highlight the importance of primordial prevention of dyslipidemia in childhood to reduce atherosclerosis development.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere027586
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Heart Association
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 4 Apr 2023
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Child
  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Plaque, Atherosclerotic/complications
  • Risk Factors
  • Prospective Studies
  • Finland/epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases/epidemiology
  • Atherosclerosis/epidemiology
  • Heart Disease Risk Factors
  • Cholesterol
  • Carotid Artery Diseases/diagnostic imaging

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Epidemiology
  • Internal Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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