Central pulse pressure and aortic stiffness determine renal hemodynamics: pathophysiological implication for microalbuminuria in hypertension

Junichiro Hashimoto, Sadayoshi Ito
Hypertension 2011, 58 (5): 839-46
A significant link has been reported between aortic stiffening and renal microvascular damage, but the underlying mechanism remains poorly understood. We hypothesized that alterations in central and renal hemodynamics are responsible for this link. In 133 patients with hypertension, pressure waveforms were recorded on the radial, carotid, femoral, and dorsalis pedis arteries with applanation tonometry to estimate the aortic pressures and aortic (carotid-femoral) and peripheral (carotid-radial and femoral-dorsalis pedis) pulse wave velocities. Flow-velocity waveforms were recorded on the renal segmental arteries with duplex ultrasound to calculate the resistive index (RI) as [1 - (end-diastolic velocity/peak systolic velocity)] and on the femoral arteries to calculate the reverse/forward flow index and diastolic/systolic forward-flow ratio. Albuminuria was defined as urinary albumin/creatinine ratio ≥30 mg/g of creatinine. The renal RI (mean: 0.65±0.07) was strongly correlated (P<0.001) with the aortic pulse pressure (r=0.62), incident pressure wave (r=0.55), augmented pressure (r=0.49), and aortic pulse wave velocity (r=0.51), although not with the mean arterial pressure or peripheral pulse wave velocities. The correlations remained highly significant after consideration of confounders including age, cholesterol, hemoglobin A(1c), and glomerular filtration rate. The renal RI was inversely correlated with the femoral reverse and diastolic forward flow indices. Both aortic pulse pressure and renal RI correlated with the urinary albumin/creatinine ratio independent of confounders. Each 0.1 increase in renal RI was associated with a 5.4-fold increase in the adjusted relative risk of albuminuria. In conclusion, increased aortic pulse pressure causes renal microvascular damage through altered renal hemodynamics resulting from increased peripheral resistance and/or increased flow pulsation.

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