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J Am Coll Cardiol. 1996 Dec;28(7):1705-11.

Coronary flow reserve is impaired in young men with familial hypercholesterolemia.

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Department of Medicine, Turku University, Finland.



We sought to investigate whether functional abnormalities in coronary vasomotion exist in young adults by studying 15 men (age 31 +/- 8 years [mean +/- SD]) with familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) and a matched group of 20 healthy control subjects.


Precursors of morphologic coronary artery disease are known to be present in adolescents and young adults with a high risk factor profile.


Myocardial blood flow was measured at the basal state and during dipyridamole-induced hyperemia using positron emission tomography and oxygen-15-labeled water.


Serum total and low density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations were higher in the patients than in the control subjects (mean +/- SD): 7.7 +/- 1.9 versus 5.3 +/- 1.5 mmol/liter (298 +/- 73 vs. 205 +/- 58 mg/dl) and 6.1 +/- 1.8 versus 3.5 +/- 1.4 mmol/liter (236 +/- 70 vs. 135 +/- 54 mg/dl), respectively (both p < 0.001). The baseline myocardial blood flow was similar in the patients and control subjects: 0.92 +/- 0.24 versus 0.83 +/- 0.13 ml/g per min, respectively (p = 0.21). A significant increase in flow was observed in both groups after dipyridamole infusion, but the flow at maximal vasodilation was 29% lower in the patients: 3.19 +/- 1.59 versus 4.49 +/- 1.27 ml/g per min (p = 0.011). Consequently, coronary flow reserve (the ratio of hyperemia flow to basal flow) was 35% lower in the patients than in the control subjects: 3.5 +/- 1.6 versus 5.4 +/- 1.5 (p = 0.0008). Total coronary resistance during hyperemia was higher in the patients than in the control subjects: 36 +/- 25 versus 21 +/- 10 mm Hg/min per g per ml (p = 0.045). Coronary flow reserve was inversely associated with serum total cholesterol concentration: r = -0.43 (p = 0.009).


Coronary flow reserve is reduced in young men with FH, and, consequently, coronary resistance during hyperemia is increased. The results demonstrate very early impairment of coronary vasomotion in hypercholesterolemic patients.

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