Background: Intrauterine growth restriction plays a powerful role in influencing later susceptibility to certain chronic diseases, such as hypertension. Endothelial dysfunction and arterial stiffness are early events in the development of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). We have studied vascular compliance in small for gestational age (SGA) children/adolescents in comparison with that in appropriate for gestational age (AGA) subjects. Methods: We monitored blood pressure, vascular resistance and compliance in 82 children-adolescents (52 SGA, 30 AGA), by means of pulse wave analysis (CR 2000 HDI) at the radial level, before and after 3 min of ischemic stress at the brachial level.Results: In the children/adolescents born SGA we found a significant increase in systolic and diastolic blood pressure and vascular resistance in the basal condition; the large and small vessels were stiffer. After ischemia we observed an increased vascular response in the SGA children/adolescents: there was a great diminution of systolic and diastolic blood pressure and a larger increase of the elasticity of the conduit and resistance vessels.Conclusions: These data show that the SGA group presented some early signs of arterial wall functional disorders. More pediatric data are needed for the evaluation by non-invasive techniques of vascular function in children-adolescents at risk of CVD.