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J Card Fail. 2004 Feb;10(1):36-42.

Reduced vascular compliance is associated with impaired endothelium-dependent dilatation in the brachial artery of patients with congestive heart failure.

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  • 1Second Department of Internal Medicine, Iwate Medical University, 19-1 Uchimaru, Morioka, Iwate 020-8505, Japan.



Alterations in elastic properties and vascular structure of conduit vessels are important detrimental factors contributing to increased cardiac load and reduced tissue perfusion in patients with congestive heart failure (CHF). It has been demonstrated that endothelial function in the peripheral vasculature is impaired in this disorder, which may induce abnormal vascular elastic properties and remodeling. However, it remains unknown whether changes in vascular structure or mechanical properties are related to endothelial dysfunction in conduit arteries of patients with CHF.


Twenty-five CHF patients with nonischemic heart disease and 20 sex/age-matched controls were enrolled. Brachial artery diameter, intima-media thickness (IMT), and vascular stiffness as represented by distensibility and compliance were determined using a high-frequency linear transducer attached to a high-quality ultrasound system. In addition, flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) after 5-minute forearm occlusion and sublingual nitroglycerin-induced dilatation (NTG) were measured in the brachial artery. Brachial arterial diameter was similar between CHF and controls; however, IMT and wall/lumen ratio were significantly greater in CHF patients than in controls (IMT, 0.37+/-0.01 versus 0.31+/-0.01 mm; wall/lumen, 18.7+/-0.8 versus 15.1+/-0.8%: both P<.01). In addition, vascular stiffness parameters were lower in CHF than in controls (distensibility; 1.09+/-0.14 versus 1.60+/-0.15%/kPa, P<.01: compliance; 0.17+/-0.02 versus 0.26+/-0.02 mm(2) kPa, P<.05). FMD and TNG were significantly reduced in CHF (both P<.001). Although stiffness parameters in CHF were not significantly correlated with vascular structure (ie, IMT, wall/lumen) or clinical parameters (ie, age, lipids, glucose, blood pressure), elastic parameters were significantly correlated with FMD (distensibility; r=0.579, P<.005: compliance; r=0.433, P<.05), but not with NTG.


The present study found that, in limb muscle conduit artery in patients with CHF, there are hypertrophic remodeling and endothelial dysfunction-associated alterations in vascular wall elastic properties.

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