The purpose of this study was to evaluate central (carotid) artery blood pressure (BP) in endurance athletes. Carotid-femoral (= aortic) pulse wave velocity (PWV) together with radial and carotid tonometry and pulse wave analysis were performed at rest in 30 endurance athletes and 30 sedentary controls, all males matched for age, height, brachial systolic BP (SBP), and diastolic BP. Whereas brachial BP was similar in the two groups, carotid SBP and pulse pressure (PP) were higher in endurance athletes than in controls irrespective of age (123.1 ± 2.17 vs. 110.2 ± 1.29 mm Hg, and 50.9 ± 1.95 vs. 34.1 ± 1.01 mm Hg; P < .0001 for both). PP amplification evaluated from the brachial/carotid PP ratio was lower in athletes than in controls (1.05 ± 0.04 vs. 1.40 ± 0.02; P < .0001). When compared with controls, athletes had lower PWV (7.81 ± 0.17 vs. 9.8 ± 0.23 m/second; P < .0001), higher reflected wave transit time/left ventricular ejection time ratio (P = .02), and lower heart rate (52.03 ± 1.54 vs. 68.9 ± 1.72 beats/minute; P < .0001). When matched for brachial BP, central SBP and PP were higher in endurance athletes than in sedentary controls. The possible negative pathophysiological impact of increased central BP on the overall favorable effects of training deserves further study.
Copyright © 2011 American Society of Hypertension. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.