HealthDay News — Malnutrition survivors are at increased risk of developing hypertension, according to researchers.

“Malnutrition below 5 years remains a global health issue. Severe acute malnutrition (SAM) presents in childhood as oedematous (kwashiorkor) or nonoedematous (marasmic) forms, with unknown long-term cardiovascular consequences,” Ingrid A. Tennant, MBBS, of the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica, and colleagues wrote in Hypertension.

To study cardiovascular structure and function in malnutrition survivors, researchers analyzed 116 adult patients who had survived SAM and 45 community controls matched by age, sex, and body mass index.

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After adjusting for age, sex, height, and weight, the researchers found that SAM survivors, compared with controls, had reductions in left ventricular outflow tract diameter (0.67; P<0.001), stroke volume (0.44; P=0.009), cardiac output (0.5; P=0.001), and pulse wave velocity (0.32; P=0.03), but higher diastolic pressures (4.3 mm Hg; 95% CI: 1.2-7.3 mm Hg; P=0.007).

In marasmus and kwashiorkor survivors, compared with controls, systemic vascular resistance was higher (30.2 and 30.8, respectively, versus 25.3; overall difference, 5.5; 95% CI: 2.8-8.4 mm Hg min/L; P<0.0001).

“Malnutrition survivors are thus likely to develop excess hypertension in later life, especially when exposed to obesity,” the researchers concluded.


  1. Tennant I et al. Hypertension. 2014; doi: 10.1161/​HYPERTENSIONAHA.114.03230