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Am J Cardiol. 2006 Mar 1;97(5):685-9. Epub 2006 Jan 9.

Comparison of metabolic vasodilation in response to exercise and ischemia and endothelium-dependent flow-mediated dilation in African-American versus non-African-American patients with chronic heart failure.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University College of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.


Race-related disparities in response to therapy and clinical outcomes have been reported in patients with chronic heart failure (HF). Vascular dysfunction is an important determinant of therapeutic response and clinical outcomes in chronic HF, but race-related differences of vasodilator responses in those with chronic HF have not been previously characterized. We assessed metabolic vasodilation in response to exercise and ischemia and endothelium-dependent flow-mediated dilation in conduit and resistance vessels with strain gauge venous occlusion plethysmography and high-resolution ultrasound imaging in the forearm circulation of 69 African-American and 188 non-African-American patients with chronic HF. African-American patients had a higher prevalence of hypertension than non-African-American patients (59% vs 35%, p = 0.001) and higher mean arterial pressures despite similar HF treatment (93 +/- 2 vs 89 +/- 1 mm Hg, p = 0.045). Forearm vascular resistance in African-American patients was higher than that of non-African-American patients at rest (22.3 +/- 1.8 vs 16.2 +/- 0.8 U, p <0.001), during exercise (4.7 +/- 0.3 vs 3.8 +/- 0.2 U, p = 0.03), and after ischemia (2.0 +/- 0.3 vs 1.5 +/- 0.1 U, p = 0.04). Endothelium-dependent flow-mediated vasodilation was significantly decreased in African-American compared with non-African-American patients in conduit vessels (brachial artery flow-mediated dilation 0.77 +/- 0.43% vs 1.86 +/- 0.24%, p = 0.03) and resistance vessels (post-ischemic forearm hyperemia 110 +/- 11 vs 145 +/- 10 ml/min/100 ml, p = 0.035). Estimates of differences in race-related vasoreactivity did not substantially change and remained at significant or borderline significant levels after adjustment for hypertension. Impaired vasodilation may contribute to differences in therapeutic response and clinical outcomes in African-American patients with chronic HF.

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