Flow-mediated vasodilatation of the brachial artery and intima-media thickness of carotid artery in never-treated subjects

C Irace, E Fiaschi, C Cortese, A Gnasso
International Angiology: a Journal of the International Union of Angiology 2006, 25 (3): 274-9

AIM: Data on the association between brachial artery flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) and common carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) are contrasting. The present study investigated the relationship between FMD and IMT and carotid atherosclerosis in never treated subjects.

METHODS: Seventy-seven subjects were investigated: 46 had no coronary heart disease (CHD) risk factors, 21 had only one, and 10 had more than one risk factor. IMT of the common carotid was measured by ultrasonography and FMD was evaluated according to standardized methods.

RESULTS: IMT increased with increasing number of risk factors (0.66+/-0.12, 0.69+/-0.12 and 0.8+/-0.17 mm, respectively, ANOVA P<0.05). FMD decreased with increasing number of risk factors (10.44+/-5.2, 6.52+/-7.11 and 7.35+/-4.42%, respectively, P<0.05). Endothelium-independent vasodilatation was similar in the 3 groups. IMT and FMD did not correlate neither in subjects without risk factors (r=-0.151, P=0.3), nor in those with 1 (r=-0.196, P=0.4) or with 2 or more risk factors (r=-0.387, P=0.2), while in the group as a whole the correlation was borderline significant (r=-0.217, P=0.058). Eleven subjects had carotid atherosclerosis and higher values of IMT, but not reduced FMD. In multiple regression analysis, diabetes and IMT, but not FMD, were associated with carotid atherosclerosis.

CONCLUSIONS: The present findings indicate that, in never treated subjects, FMD is not strictly associated with IMT or atherosclerosis of the carotid arteries.

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