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Am J Hypertens. 2000 Apr;13(4 Pt 1):324-31.

Arterial wall thickening at different sites and its association with left ventricular hypertrophy in newly diagnosed essential hypertension.

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Sezione di Medicina Interna, Angiologia e Malattie da Arteriosclerosi, University of Perugia, and the Azienda Ospedaliera di Perugia, Italy.


The impact of hypertension on vascular structure at different arterial sites and the relation of vascular hypertrophy with left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy in the early stages of essential hypertension are unclear. In 96 newly diagnosed, never-treated, uncomplicated hypertensive subjects aged < 55 years (43 +/- 9 years, 68 men, clinic blood pressure 152/99 mm Hg, 24-h blood pressure 135/89 mm Hg), we measured LV mass (M-mode echocardiography) and intima-media thickness (IMT) of the carotid and femoral arteries (high-resolution B-mode ultrasound). The average of 24 carotid and 24 femoral IMT readings (common and internal carotid or common and superficial femoral, right and left side, far and near wall, three sampling points per segment) was analyzed. Carotid and femoral IMT were strongly related to each other (r = 0.77). Subjects with LV hypertrophy (n = 33) had a greater IMT at the carotid (0.84 +/- 0.2 v 0.71 +/- 0.2 mm, P < .0001) and femoral (0.77 +/- 0.1 v 0.64 +/- 0.1 mm, P < .0001) level. Carotid IMT showed a positive correlation with LV mass (r = 0.46) and age (r = 0.38), and an inverse one with high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (r = -0.26). Femoral IMT was associated positively to LV mass (r = 0.50), age (r = 0.33) and triglycerides (r = 0.29), and inversely to HDL-cholesterol (r = -0.33). The association between IMT (both carotid and femoral) and LV mass held after controlling for age and other confounders in a multiple regression analysis. In summary, in the early stages of hypertension arterial wall thickening appears to be a diffuse process, which occurs in parallel at the carotid and femoral level and shows a positive association with LV hypertrophy.

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