Objectives: The present study investigated whether central blood pressure (BP) predicts cardiovascular (CV) events better than brachial BP in a cohort of normotensive and untreated hypertensive elderly individuals.
Background: Limited and conflicting data have been reported on the prognostic relevance of central BP compared with brachial BP.
Methods: Community-dwelling individuals > or =65 years of age, living in Dicomano, Italy, underwent an extensive clinical assessment in 1995 including echocardiography and carotid ultrasonography and applanation tonometry. In 2003, vital status and CV events were assessed, reviewing the electronic database of the Regional Ministry of Health. Only normotensive (n = 173) and untreated hypertensive subjects (95 diastolic and 130 isolated systolic) were included in the present analysis.
Results: During 8 years, 106 deaths, 45 of which were cardiovascular, and 122 CV events occurred. In univariate analyses, both central and brachial systolic blood pressure (SBP) and pulse pressure (PP) predicted CV events (all p < 0.005); however, in multivariate analyses, adjusting for age and gender, higher carotid SBP and PP (hazard ratios 1.19/10 and 1.23/10 mm Hg, respectively; both p < 0.0001) but neither brachial SBP nor PP independently predicted CV events. Similarly, higher carotid SBP but not brachial pressures independently predicted CV mortality (hazard ratio 1.37/10 mm Hg; p < 0.0001).
Conclusions: Our prospective study in an unselected geriatric population demonstrates superior prognostic utility of central compared with brachial BP.