This study investigated the determinants of endothelial function in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Digital pulse amplitude augmentation was measured by post-ischemic reactive hyperemia (RH-PAT) in 44 COPD patients and analyzed with covariates: condition vs. exacerbation, fat-free mass index (FFMI), pulmonary function, blood pressure, inflammation, six-minute walking distance, muscle function, medications, diabetes and prevalent cardiovascular diseases. RH-PAT was 0.43 (-0.14 to 1.30) with 50% of patients exhibiting abnormal RH-PAT ≤ 0.40. After adjustment for age and sex, RH-PAT was linked to condition, FFMI, myocardial infarction history, FEV(1), PaCO(2), heart rate, bicarbonates, inflammation and walking distance (p<0.10). In multivariate analysis, walking distance, FFMI and PaCO(2) were independent contributors of RH-PAT explaining 49% of the variance (p<0.0001). Higher FFMI was associated with higher inflammation, oxidative stress and endothelial dysfunction. Six-minute walking distance which is a widely available marker of severity and functional capacity in COPD patients is a main predictor of endothelial dysfunction.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00404430.
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