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      Assessments of endothelial function and arterial stiffness are reproducible in patients with COPD

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          Elevated cardiovascular disease risk is observed in patients with COPD. Non-invasive assessments of endothelial dysfunction and arterial stiffness have recently emerged to provide mechanistic insight into cardiovascular disease risk in COPD; however, the reproducibility of endothelial function and arterial stiffness has yet to be investigated in this patient population.


          This study sought to examine the within-day and between-day reproducibility of endothelial function and arterial stiffness in patients with COPD.


          Baseline diameter, peak diameter, flow-mediated dilation, augmentation index, augmentation index at 75 beats per minute, and pulse wave velocity were assessed three times in 17 patients with COPD (six males, eleven females, age range 47–75 years old; forced expiratory volume in 1 second =51.5% predicted). Session A and B were separated by 3 hours (within-day), whereas session C was conducted at least 7 days following session B (between-day). Reproducibility was assessed by: 1) paired t-tests, 2) coefficients of variation, 3) coefficients of variation prime, 4) intra-class correlation coefficient, 5) Pearson’s correlations ( r), and 6) Bland–Altman plots. Five acceptable assessments were required to confirm reproducibility.


          Six out of six within-day criteria were met for endothelial function and arterial stiffness outcomes. Six out of six between-day criteria were met for baseline and peak diameter, augmentation index and pulse wave velocity, whereas five out of six criteria were met for flow-mediated dilation.


          The present study provides evidence for within-day and between-day reproducibility of endothelial function and arterial stiffness in patients with COPD.

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          Most cited references 39

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          Non-invasive detection of endothelial dysfunction in children and adults at risk of atherosclerosis.

          Endothelial dysfunction is an early event in experimental studies of atherogenesis, preceding formation of plaques. We have devised a non-invasive method for testing endothelial function, to find out whether abnormalities are present in symptom-free children and young adults at high risk of atherosclerosis. With high-resolution ultrasound, we measured the diameter of the superficial femoral and brachial arteries at rest, during reactive hyperaemia (with increased flow causing endothelium-dependent dilatation), and after sublingual glyceryl trinitrate (GTN; causing endothelium-independent dilatation) in 100 subjects--50 controls without vascular risk factors (aged 8-57 years), 20 cigarette smokers (aged 17-62 years), 10 children with familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH; aged 8-16 years), and 20 patients with established coronary artery disease (CAD). Adequate scans were obtained in all but 6 cases. Flow-mediated dilatation was observed in arteries from all control subjects. Dilatation was inversely related to baseline vessel diameter (r = -0.81, p < 0.0001); in arteries of 6.0 mm or less, mean dilatation was 10 (SE 2)%. In smokers, FH children, and adults with CAD, flow-mediated dilatation was much reduced or absent (p < 0.001 for comparison with each relevant control group). Dilatation in response to GTN was present in all groups. Endothelial dysfunction is present in children and adults with risk factors for atherosclerosis, such as smoking and hypercholesterolaemia, before anatomical evidence of plaque formation in the arteries studied. This may be an important early event in atherogenesis.
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            Close relation of endothelial function in the human coronary and peripheral circulations.

             M Gerhard,  S Knab,  P Ganz (1995)
            The relation between endothelium-dependent vasodilator function in the brachial and coronary arteries was determined in the same subjects. Coronary artery endothelial dysfunction precedes the development of overt atherosclerosis and is important in its pathogenesis. A noninvasive assessment of endothelial function in a peripheral conduit vessel, the brachial artery, was recently described, but the relation between brachial artery function and coronary artery vasodilator function has not been explored. In 50 patients referred to the catheterization laboratory for the evaluation of coronary artery disease (mean age +/- SD 56 +/- 10 years), the coronary vasomotor response to serial intracoronary infusions of the endothelium-dependent agonist acetylcholine (10(-8) to 10(-6) mol/liter), was studied. Endothelium-dependent vasodilation was also assessed in the brachial artery by measuring the change in brachial artery diameter in response to reactive hyperemia. Patients with coronary artery endothelial dysfunction manifested as vasoconstriction in response to acetylcholine had significantly impaired flow-mediated vasodilation in the brachial artery compared with that of patients with normal coronary endothelial function (4.8 +/- 5.5% vs. 10.8 +/- 7.6%, p < 0.01). Patients with coronary artery disease also had an attenuated brachial artery vasodilator response compared with that of patients with angiographically smooth coronary arteries (4.5 +/- 4.6% vs. 9.7 +/- 8.1%, p < 0.02). By multivariate analysis, the strongest predictors of reduced brachial dilator responses to flow were baseline brachial artery diameter (p < 0.001), coronary endothelial dysfunction (p = 0.003), the presence of coronary artery disease (p = 0.007) and cigarette smoking (p = 0.016). The brachial artery vasodilator response to sublingual nitroglycerin was independent of coronary endothelial responses or the presence of coronary artery disease. The positive predictive value of abnormal brachial dilation ( < 3%) in predicting coronary endothelial dysfunction is 95%. This study demonstrated a close relation between coronary artery endothelium-dependent vasomotor responses to acetylcholine and flow-mediated vasodilation in the brachial artery. This noninvasive method may become a useful surrogate in assessing the predisposition to atherosclerosis in patients with cardiac risk factors.
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              The influence of heart rate on augmentation index and central arterial pressure in humans.

              Arterial stiffness is an important determinant of cardiovascular risk. Augmentation index (AIx) is a measure of systemic arterial stiffness derived from the ascending aortic pressure waveform. The aim of the present study was to assess the effect of heart rate on AIx. We elected to use cardiac pacing rather than chronotropic drugs to minimize confounding effects on the systemic circulation and myocardial contractility. Twenty-two subjects (13 male) with a mean age of 63 years and permanent cardiac pacemakers in situ were studied. Pulse wave analysis was used to determine central arterial pressure waveforms, non-invasively, during incremental pacing (from 60 to 110 beats min-1), from which AIx and central blood pressure were calculated. Peripheral blood pressure was recorded non-invasively from the brachial artery. There was a significant, inverse, linear relationship between AIx and heart rate (r = -0.76; P < 0.001). For a 10 beats min-1 increment, AIx fell by around 4 %. Ejection duration and heart rate were also inversely related (r = -0. 51; P < 0.001). Peripheral systolic, diastolic and mean arterial pressure increased significantly during incremental pacing. Although central diastolic pressure increased significantly with pacing, central systolic pressure did not. There was a significant increase in the ratio of peripheral to central pulse pressure (P < 0.001), which was accounted for by the observed change in central pressure augmentation. These results demonstrate an inverse, linear relationship between AIx and heart rate. This is likely to be due to alterations in the timing of the reflected pressure wave, produced by changes in the absolute duration of systole. Consideration of wave reflection and aortic pressure augmentation may explain the lack of rise in central systolic pressure during incremental pacing despite an increase in peripheral pressure.

                Author and article information

                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of COPD
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                Dove Medical Press
                16 September 2015
                : 10
                : 1977-1986
                [1 ]Division of Clinical and Translational Sciences, Georgia Prevention Institute, Georgia Regents University, Augusta, GA, USA
                [2 ]Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, Georgia Regents University, Augusta, GA, USA
                [3 ]Sport and Exercise Science Research Institute, University of Ulster, Jordanstown, Northern Ireland, UK
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Ryan A Harris, Georgia Prevention Institute, Georgia Regents University, 1120 15th Street, HS-1707, Augusta, GA 30912, USA, Tel +1 706 721 5998, Fax +1 706 721 7150, Email ryharris@
                © 2015 Rodriguez-Miguelez et al. This work is published by Dove Medical Press Limited, and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License

                The full terms of the License are available at Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

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