Background: Decreased large artery function, as reflected by increased brachial artery pulse pressure and increased carotid artery diameter and stiffness, may contribute to the increased mortality risk that is observed in subjects with impaired glucose tolerance. We therefore investigated the association between brachial artery pulse pressure and carotid artery diameter and stiffness, which are estimates of central artery stiffness and arterial remodelling, respectively, and mortality in subjects with a recent history of impaired glucose tolerance.
Design: A prospective, population-based cohort study. We measured brachial artery pulse pressure by oscillometric blood pressure measurements, and common carotid artery diameter and distensibility and compliance coefficients by ultrasound in 140 subjects with a recent history of impaired glucose tolerance. During a median 6.6-year follow-up, 16 subjects died.
Results: Brachial artery pulse pressure and common carotid artery diameter were positively related to all-cause mortality [hazard ratios per standard deviation, 1.7 (1.2-2.5) and 2.1 (1.3-3.3), respectively]. Results were similar after adjustment for gender, age, waist-to-hip ratio, body mass index, total cholesterol concentration, pre-existent cardiovascular disease, and hypertension, and after additional mutual adjustment. Common carotid artery distensibility and compliance coefficients were not statistically significantly associated with mortality.
Conclusions: Among subjects with a recent history of impaired glucose tolerance, brachial artery pulse pressure and common carotid artery diameter are independently associated with mortality risk. Stiffness of the central arteries may explain the association between pulse pressure and mortality risk. The association between carotid diameter and mortality risk is more likely to reflect arterial remodelling in response to atherosclerosis than that in response to increased local stiffness.