Background: Aortic pulse wave velocity (PWV) is a predictor of mortality in patients with end-stage renal failure (ESRF). The PWV is partly dependent on blood pressure (BP), and a decrease in BP can attenuate the stiffness. Whether the changes in PWV in response to decreases in BP can predict mortality in ESRF patients has never been investigated.
Methods and results: One hundred fifty ESRF patients (aged 52+/-16 years) were monitored for 51+/-38 months. From entry until the end of follow-up, the changes of PWV in response to decreased BP were measured ultrasonographically. BP was controlled by adjustment of "dry weight" and, when necessary, with ACE inhibitors, calcium antagonists, and/or beta-blockers, in combination if necessary. Fifty-nine deaths occurred, including 40 cardiovascular and 19 noncardiovascular events. Cox analyses demonstrated that independent of BP changes, the predictors of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality were as follows: absence of PWV decrease in response to BP decrease, increased left ventricular mass, age, and preexisting cardiovascular disease. Survival was positively associated with ACE inhibitor use. After adjustment for all confounding factors, the risk ratio for the absence of PWV decrease was 2.59 (95% CI 1.51 to 4.43) for all-cause mortality and 2.35 (95% CI 1.23 to 4.41) for cardiovascular mortality. The risk ratio for ACE inhibitor use was 0.19 (95% CI 0.14 to 0.43) for all-cause mortality and 0.18 (95% CI 0.06 to 0.55) for cardiovascular mortality.
Conclusions: These results indicate that in ESRF patients, the insensitivity of PWV to decreased BP is an independent predictor of mortality and that use of ACE inhibitors has a favorable effect on survival that is independent of BP changes.