Are increased carotid artery pulsatility and resistance indexes early signs of vascular abnormalities in young obese males?

J Clin Ultrasound. Jul-Aug 2012;40(6):335-40. doi: 10.1002/jcu.21927. Epub 2012 Apr 25.


Purpose: To provide insight into the factors by which obesity in itself may directly lead to early arterial damage, we aimed to determine early sonographic markers of obesity-related vascular dysfunction in young obese males.

Methods: Thirty-five young obese males and 23 age-matched healthy male volunteers were recruited into the study. Common carotid artery pulsatility index and resistance index were calculated from blood flow velocities curves obtained by pulsed Doppler ultrasonography.

Results: The mean pulsatility index, resistance index, body mass index, waist circumference, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, homeostasis model assessment for insulin resistance, plasma fasting glucose, insulin, C-peptide, triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein were statistically higher in obese subjects than in healthy controls.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that depressed vessel compliance and increased vascular resistance are features of young, obese, normotensive subjects independently of and in addition to cardiovascular risk factors. As changes in arterial wall properties may be incipient in young obese subjects, future studies will be required to demonstrate whether early intervention such as diet and exercise in this population can improve vascular functions.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Mass Index
  • C-Peptide / blood
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism
  • Carotid Arteries / diagnostic imaging*
  • Carotid Arteries / physiopathology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / blood
  • Male
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Pulsatile Flow
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Pulsed*
  • Vascular Resistance
  • Waist Circumference


  • Blood Glucose
  • C-Peptide
  • Insulin
  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • Triglycerides
  • C-Reactive Protein