Aims: There is growing need for the identification of novel non-invasive methodologies for the identification of individuals at risk for adverse cardiovascular (CV) events. We examined whether endothelial dysfunction, as detected by non-invasive peripheral arterial tonometry (EndoPAT), can predict late CV events.
Methods and results: Reactive hyperaemia (RH) was induced following upper arm occlusion of systolic blood pressure in 270 outpatients (54 +/- 12 years, 48% female). The natural logarithmic scaled RH index (L_RHI) was calculated from the ratio between the digital pulse volume during RH and at baseline. The patients were followed for CV adverse events (AE: cardiac death, myocardial infarction, revascularization or cardiac hospitalization) during a 7-year follow-up (inter-quartile range = 4.4-8). Cox models were used to estimate the association of EndoPAT results with AE adjusted for age. During the follow-up, AE occurred in 86 patients (31%). Seven-year AE rate was 48% in patients with L_RHI < 0.4 vs. 28% in those with L_RHI >or= 0.4 (P = 0.03). Additional univariate predictors of AE were advancing age (P = 0.02) and prior coronary bypass surgery (P = 0.01). The traditional Framingham risk score was not higher in patients with AE. Multivariate analysis identified L_RHI < 0.4 as an independent predictor of AE (P = 0.03).
Conclusion: A low RH signal detected by EndoPAT, consistent with endothelial dysfunction, was associated with higher AE rate during follow-up. L_RHI was an independent predictor of AE. Non-invasive assessment of peripheral vascular function may be useful for the identification of patients at risk for cardiac AEs.