30 June 2009
Background/Aims: Although normalization of brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (FMD) to individual shear stress (FMD:shear stress ratio) has been proposed to improve this measure of endothelial function, the clinical utility of FMD normalization has not yet been demonstrated. We tested (1) whether following conventional 5-min forearm occlusion, the FMD:shear stress ratio would discriminate a population with moderate cardiovascular risk (MR) from a low-risk (LR) population, and (2) whether the dose-response profile relating shear stress to FMD would be different between the 2 populations. Methods: Five different magnitudes of reactive hyperemia-induced shear stress were applied to 20 MR and 20 LR subjects by manipulating forearm cuff occlusion duration. Brachial artery diameters and velocities were measured via high-resolution ultrasound. To quantify the hyperemic stimulus, shear stress area under the curve was individually calculated for the duration of time-to-peak dilation. Results: Following 5-min of forearm occlusion, FMD:shear stress ratio (p = 0.041), but not FMD (p = 0.286), discriminated MR from LR. The slope of the shear stress-FMD regression line was lower in MR compared to the LR (p <0.001). Conclusion: The FMD:shear stress ratio distinguished reduced endothelial function in a population with MR. The dose-response profile of the shear stress-FMD relationship appears to differ between populations of distinct cardiovascular risk.