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Hypertens Res. 2004 Sep;27(9):625-31.

Arterial stiffening as a possible risk factor for both atherosclerosis and diastolic heart failure.

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Second Department of Internal Medicine, Tokyo Medical University, Japan.


While arterial stiffness is known to be related to atherosclerosis, the association between arterial stiffness and cardiac systolic and diastolic function in hypertension has not been fully evaluated. The present study was conducted to simultaneously evaluate the relationship of brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (PWV) to parameters reflecting atherosclerosis and to those reflecting the risk of congestive heart failure in patients with hypertension. In 147 patients with hypertension, the left ventricular ejection fraction, the ratio of the peak velocity of early rapid filling and the peak velocity of atrial filling (E/A ratio), and left ventricular mass index were obtained from echocardiographs, the intima-media thickness of the common carotid artery was obtained by ultrasonography, the plasma B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) level was measured by radioimmunoassay, and the brachial-ankle PWV was measured by the volume rendering method. Brachial-ankle PWV correlated positively with the intima-media thickness of the carotid artery, E/A ratio and BNP. Multiple linear regression analysis demonstrated that the relationship between the brachial-ankle PWV and the E/A ratio was significantly independent from other clinical variables. The receiver operator characteristic curve demonstrated that a brachial-ankle PWV of 1,600 cm/s was useful to discriminate mild cardiac diastolic dysfunction (E/A ratio of < or =0.75) (sensitivity=78% and specificity=58%). The present study demonstrated that increased brachial-ankle PWV relates not only to the parameters reflecting atherosclerosis but also to those reflecting cardiac diastolic dysfunction. Therefore, increased arterial stiffness is a possible simultaneous risk for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and diastolic heart failure in patients with hypertension.

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