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J Hypertens. 1999 Mar;17(3):413-8.

Withdrawal of hormonal therapy for 4 weeks decreases arterial compliance in postmenopausal women.

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1
Alfred and Baker Medical Unit, Baker Medical Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

We demonstrated in a previous cross-sectional study that arterial compliance is elevated in postmenopausal women taking estrogen-containing hormonal therapy, which may partially account for the reduction in cardiovascular risk observed.

OBJECTIVE:

To investigate the effects of withdrawal and recommencement of hormonal therapy, each for 4 weeks, on arterial compliance.

METHODS:

Seventeen postmenopausal women [aged 56 +/- 4 years (mean +/- SD)] taking long-term hormonal therapy (+HT group) were studied at baseline, 4 weeks after withdrawal of hormonal therapy and again 4 weeks after recommencement. Systemic arterial compliance (SAC), pulse wave velocity (PWV) in the aorto-femoral and femoral-dorsalis pedis regions, and hemodynamic variables were measured at baseline, and at the end of each study intervention. As a time-control, seventeen postmenopausal women (aged 63 +/- 7 years) not taking hormonal therapy (-HT group) were also investigated.

RESULTS:

SAC significantly decreased from 0.47 +/- 0.06 to 0.40 +/- 0.05 arbitrary compliance units (mean +/- SEM; P < 0.05) after 4 weeks withdrawal from hormonal therapy. PWV in the femoral-dorsalis pedis region was elevated significantly by the withdrawal of hormonal therapy (8.4 +/- 0.4 to 9.4 +/- 0.5 m/s; P < 0.05), but PWV in the aortofemoral region did not change. After therapy had been recommenced for 4 weeks, SAC and PWV in the femoral-dorsalis pedis region were restored to baseline values. The -HT group showed no difference in SAC or PWV, and mean arterial pressure did not change in either group throughout the study period.

CONCLUSION:

These data suggest that hormonal modulation of distal arterial vascular tone may account for short-term changes in arterial compliance associated with estrogen-containing hormonal therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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