Brachial artery diameter is related to cardiovascular risk factors and intima-media thickness

Eur J Clin Invest. 2009 Jul;39(7):554-60. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2362.2009.02152.x. Epub 2009 May 8.


Background: Previous reports showed inconsistent results about the potential role of flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) in cardiovascular(CV) risk prediction. Few data are available about the role of nitroglycerin-mediated dilatation (NMD), but recently, brachial artery diameter(BAD) appeared to have predictive value in CV risk prediction.We determined the relation of FMD, BAD and NMD with known CV risk factors and intima-media thickness (IMT), a well-established surrogate marker of atherosclerosis, in a community-based population, the Nijmegen Biomedical Study (NBS).

Materials and methods: FMD, BAD and NMD were measured in the brachial, and IMT in the common carotid artery ultrasononically in 337 participants, aged 50-70 years. Traditional clinical and biochemical parameters were determined.

Results: Both FMD and NMD were not correlated with most CV risk factors or prevalent CVD. However, both IMT and BAD did show significant correlations with CV risk factors. In accordance, both IMT and BAD were significantly correlated with prevalent CVD (r=0.62 and r=-0.37, respectively) . Furthermore, FMD was not correlated with IMT and did hardly (R2=1.1%) improve the prediction of IMT by CV risk factors in regression analysis. However, both BAD and NMD did correlate with IMT (r=-0.29 and r=0.25, respectively).

Conclusion: In our study, FMD and NMD were not related to known CV risk factors and prevalent CVD, and FMD was not correlated with IMT, a surrogate marker of atherosclerosis. Most intriguingly, BAD was significantly correlated with some CV risk factors, prevalent CVD and IMT. So, BAD is a potential valuable tool in CV risk prediction in middle-aged low-risk populations, whereas FMD is not.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Atherosclerosis / blood
  • Atherosclerosis / epidemiology
  • Atherosclerosis / physiopathology*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Brachial Artery / diagnostic imaging
  • Brachial Artery / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Regional Blood Flow / physiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Tunica Intima / diagnostic imaging
  • Tunica Intima / physiology*
  • Tunica Media / diagnostic imaging
  • Tunica Media / physiology*
  • Ultrasonography


  • Biomarkers