Objectives: ; The aim of the present study was to assess whether optimized antihypertensive treatment is effective in modifying endothelial function and whether an improvement in flow-mediated vasodilation (FMD) in response to treatment, as an expression of reversible endothelial dysfunction, could predict a more favorable prognosis in a population of postmenopausal women.
Background: Hypertensive postmenopausal women have been shown to have abnormal endothelium-dependent vascular function. However, FMD may change over time, according to antihypertensive treatment; the prognostic value of these changes has not been investigated.
Methods: A total of 400 consecutive postmenopausal women with mild-to-moderate hypertension and impaired FMD underwent ultrasonography of the brachial artery at baseline and after six months, while optimal control of blood pressure was achieved using antihypertensive therapy. They were then followed up for a mean period of 67 months (range 57 to 78). Endothelial function was measured as FMD of the brachial artery, using high-resolution ultrasound.
Results: After six months of treatment, FMD had not changed (< or = 10% relative to baseline) in 150 (37.5%) of 400 women (group 1), whereas it had significantly improved (>10% relative to baseline) in the remaining 250 women (62.5%) (group 2). During follow-up, we noticed 32 events (3.50 per 100 person-years) in group 1 and 15 events (0.51 per 100 person-years) in group 2 (p < 0.0001).
Conclusions: This study demonstrates that a significant improvement in endothelial function may be obtained after six months of antihypertensive therapy and clearly identifies patients who possibly have a more favorable prognosis.