(Reuters) - Researchers
looking at heart transplant patients said
Tuesday they found, completely
by accident, clear signs of the
beginnings of heart disease in young adults
in their 20s and even some
- They said one in six teenagers who died in accidents
hearts then were used for transplant had the beginnings of fatty
clogging of their arteries.
- ``They had the seeds of heart disease that shows up as
a heart attack 20 to 30 years later,'' Dr. Murat Tuzcu of the Cleveland
Clinic Foundation in Cleveland, told reporters.
- He said the message was
think parents should be aware that this thing starts
said. ``We can't sit in our comfortable chairs and wait
for a heart
- Tuzcu was not looking for heart disease. He was examining
hearts of 125 young adults that had been transplanted into other
said he used an ultrasound technique that involves
threading a catheter
into the coronary arteries, which lead to the heart.
The idea was to
check the status of the transplanted heart, and he did
this a few weeks
after transplantation -- not enough time for the recipients
developed their own plaques.
- To his surprise, even the youngest donors, those under
the age of 20, often had the beginnings of blockages, he said. The older
the donor, the thicker the plaques, Tuzcu told a meeting of the American
- ``This phenomenon was more prominent and frequent in
than in young girls,'' he said. He added that about one in five
and one in 10 girls had the blockages.
- Doctors performing autopsies of
young people who were
killed in accidents or died of other
non-disease-related causes frequently
have noticed fatty streaks in the
arteries of the children, but Tuzcu said
it is different to see living
- All the young people whose hearts were donated for transplant
had been very healthy when they were killed and had no symptoms of heart
- The blockages became more common as the donors got older.
said 26 of the 36 heart donors between the ages of 41 and 50 had
Five of the 32 donors under age 20 did as well, he said.
- He said parents should make sure
their children exercise
and eat right. ``They should eat vegetables and
(whole) grains and fruit,''
he said. ``We certainly are not advocating
putting kids on a diet.''
- But Tuzcu said they could eat fewer treats and junk
and exercise more.
- ``Look at the time young children spend in front of the
TV on the couch,'' he added. ``I think this is a very fresh look at a very