Turkish Archives of Pediatrics
Original Article

Early Signs of Autonomic Nervous System Imbalance in Children with High Cardiometabolic Risk


Pediatric Unit, IRCCS Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza, San Giovanni Rotondo, Foggia, Italy


Department of Medical Sciences, University of Foggia, Foggia, Italy


European Paediatric Association, Union of National Paediatric Societies and Associations, Berlin, Germany

Turk Arch Pediatr 2022; 57: 498-505
DOI: 10.5152/TurkArchPediatr.2022.21339
Read: 720 Downloads: 265 Published: 01 September 2022

Objective: Autonomic nervous system is involved in many disorders, and changes in its modulation are the known risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. Its role in metabolic disarrangements in children at high cardio-metabolic risk is not known. Aim of the study is to analyze the relation between clinical-metabolic parameters and autonomic nervous system in children.

Materials and Methods: Children affected by type 1 diabetes (group 1), obesity (group 2), and control group (group 3) were enrolled. Autonomic nervous system functionality was assessed with dynamic tests (The Expiration to Inspiration indexes—E/I delta and ratio, 30:15 Ratio Test, Systolic blood pressure response to standing—deltaPA), and ultrasonography was performed to evaluate Intima Media Thickness (cIMT). Clinical parameters were recorded.

Results: The study popultaion had a total of 75 children with mean age of 12.5 ± 2.8 years: 26 in group 1, 28 in group 2, 21 in group 3. Obese children had higher cIMT z-score (P < .001). Diabetic patients had lower EI delta values (P < .001) and 30:15 ratio test (P = .01). There was an inverse correlation between E/I delta and microalbuminuria levels (rho −0.955, P < .001) and 30:15 ratio test and microalbuminuria (rho −0.936, P < .001) in group 1, even after adjustment for age. DeltaPA was higher in obese (P = .032) and correlated with BMI z-score and homeostatic model assessment.

Conclusion: Our results highlight imbalances in sutonomic nervous system function in children at high metabolic risk, in particular with involvement of parasympathetic function in type 1 Diabetes Mellitus and sympathetic one in obesity. An early screening could lead to a prompt identification of these alterations and could have a predictive role on cardio-metabolic risk.

Cite this article as: Rutigliano I, Cringoli S, Verrotti di Pianella V, Maccarone P, Pettoello-Mantovani M, Sacco M. Early signs of autonomic nervous system imbalance in children with high cardiometabolic risk. Turk Arch Pediatr. 2022;57(5):498-505.

EISSN 2757-6256