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      The Peripheral Vascular Response to Exercise Is Impaired in Patients with Risk Factors for Coronary Artery Disease


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          Background: Abnormal coronary and brachial artery responses have been described in individuals with risk factors for coronary artery disease (CAD). Peripheral arterial tonometry (PAT), a newly developed digital plethysmographic technique was used to assess peripheral vascular response to exercise in healthy controls and individuals with risk factors. Methods and Results: Continuous finger PAT during Bruce protocol exercise test was performed in 30 subjects with risk factors for CAD and 30 healthy individuals. Compared with baseline, the PAT wave amplitude at peak exercise decreased in the subjects but increased in the controls: 83 ± 28% vs. 114 ± 40% respectively, p < 0.01. Conclusions: A different pattern of systemic vascular response to exercise was found in individuals with risk factors for atherosclerosis. Since the vascular behavior in these patients is probably related to endothelial dysfunction, it may be that peripheral arterial tonometry can be used as a simple, readily available technique to assess endothelial function.

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          Impaired endothelium-dependent vasodilation of forearm resistance vessels in hypercholesterolaemia.

          Endothelium-dependent vasodilation in response to acetylcholine is impaired in the coronary microvasculature of hypercholesterolaemic subjects. Outside the coronary circulation, however, it has been suggested that hypercholesterolaemia results in a functional abnormality of vascular smooth muscle rather than in endothelial dysfunction. We examined vasodilator responses to acetylcholine, methacholine, and the endothelium-independent vasodilator sodium nitroprusside in the forearm resistance vessels of 12 men with primary hypercholesterolaemia and 12 normocholesterolaemic male controls. Endothelium-dependent vasodilation in response to acetylcholine was impaired in hypercholesterolaemic patients compared with controls: at the highest dose of drug (15 micrograms per min) mean blood flow in the forearms of the hypercholesterolaemic group was only 52% (95% Cl 31-88%) of that in the control group. Responses to sodium nitroprusside and to methacholine in the two study groups were not significantly different. These results indicate that endothelial dysfunction in hypercholesterolaemic subjects is generalised and extends to vascular beds outside the coronary circulation. Selective impairment to acetylcholine suggests that, at a molecular level, the defect is limited to a specific pathway.
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            Impaired vascular reactivity in insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus is related to disease duration and low density lipoprotein cholesterol levels.

            This study sought to examine whether endothelial function is impaired in the large vessels of asymptomatic young adults with insulin-dependent diabetes and whether endothelial dysfunction is related to duration or control of diabetes, small-vessel disease or other vascular risk factors. Endothelial dysfunction is an early event in atherosclerosis, and large-vessel atherosclerotic disease is the major cause of morbidity and mortality in diabetes. We compared 80 young adults with insulin-dependent diabetes (15 to 40 years old; mean [+/- SD] diabetes duration 13 +/- 8 years) with 80 matched nondiabetic control subjects. Using high resolution vascular ultrasound, we measured brachial artery responses to reactive hyperemia (with increased flow causing endothelium-dependent dilation) and sublingual glyceryltrinitrate (causing endothelium-independent dilation). Flow-mediated dilation was significantly impaired in diabetic subjects (5.0 +/- 3.7% vs. 9.3 +/- 3.8% in control subjects, p < 0.001). The ratio of flow-mediated dilation to glyceryltrinitrate-induced dilation was significantly lower in the diabetic subjects (p < 0.02), indicating that impaired dilation to increased flow was out of proportion to the impairment of the glyceryltrinitrate response in these subjects (15.6 +/- 5.6% vs. 19.7 +/- 6.6% in control subjects, p < 0.001). On multivariate analysis, flow-mediated dilation was inversely related to both duration of diabetes (r = -0.26, p < 0.05) and low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels (r = -0.38, p < 0.005). Vascular reactivity is impaired in the systemic arteries of asymptomatic young adults with insulin-dependent diabetes and may represent early large-vessel disease. The degree of impairment is related to the duration of diabetes, and these patients appear particularly vulnerable to damage from LDL cholesterol, even at levels considered acceptable in nondiabetic subjects.

              Author and article information

              S. Karger AG
              July 2001
              20 July 2001
              : 95
              : 3
              : 126-130
              aBikur Cholim Hospital, Jerusalem, bItamar Medical, Cesaria, and cSheba Hospital, Tel Aviv, Israel
              47358 Cardiology 2001;95:126–130
              © 2001 S. Karger AG, Basel

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              Page count
              Figures: 4, Tables: 1, References: 20, Pages: 5
              General Cardiology


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