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Hypertension. 2001 Jun;37(6):1429-33.

Vasoactive drugs influence aortic augmentation index independently of pulse-wave velocity in healthy men.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Centre for Cardiovascular Biology and Medicine, King's College, London, UK.


Aortic augmentation index, a measure of central systolic blood pressure augmentation arising mainly from pressure-wave reflection, increases with vascular aging. The augmentation index is influenced by aortic pulse-wave velocity (related to aortic stiffness) and by the site and extent of wave reflection. To clarify the relative influence of pulse-wave velocity and wave reflection on the augmentation index, we studied the association between augmentation index, pulse-wave velocity, and age and examined the effects of vasoactive drugs to determine whether altering vascular tone has differential effects on pulse-wave velocity and the augmentation index. We made simultaneous measurements of the augmentation index and carotid-to-femoral pulse-wave velocity in 50 asymptomatic men aged 19 to 74 years at baseline and, in a subset, during the administration of nitroglycerin, angiotensin II, and saline vehicle. The aortic augmentation index was obtained by radial tonometry (Sphygmocor device, PWV Medical) with the use of an inbuilt radial to aortic transfer function. In multiple regression analysis, the aortic augmentation index was independently correlated only with age (R=0.58, P<0.0001). Nitroglycerin (3 to 300 microg/min IV) reduced the aortic augmentation index from 4.8+/-2.3% to -11.9+/-5.3% (n=10, P<0.002). Angiotensin II (75 to 300 ng/min IV) increased the aortic augmentation index from 9.3+/-2.4% to 18.3+/-2.9% (n=12, P<0.001). These drugs had small effects on aortic pulse-wave velocity, producing mean changes from baseline of <1 m/s (each P<0.05). In healthy men, vasoactive drugs may change aortic augmentation index independently from aortic pulse-wave velocity.

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