Background: Inter-arm systolic blood pressure difference (SBPD) is an easily obtained patient characteristic which relates to vascular disease. We aimed to identify determinants of large inter-arm SBPD and to investigate the relation between inter-arm SBPD and vascular events in patients with and without manifest vascular disease.
Methods: In a cohort of 7344 patients with manifest vascular disease or vascular risk factors alone enrolled in the Second Manifestations of ARTerial disease (SMART) study, single bilateral non-simultaneous blood pressure measurements were performed. Logistic and Cox regression was used to identify determinants of large inter-arm SBPD (≥15mmHg) and to investigate the relation between inter-arm SBPD and vascular events (composite of non-fatal myocardial infarction, stroke, and vascular mortality) and all-cause mortality.
Results: In all patients the median inter-arm SBPD was 7mmHg (IQR 3-11) and 1182 (16%) patients had inter-arm SBPD ≥15mmHg. Higher age, higher systolic blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, peripheral artery disease, carotid artery stenosis, higher carotid intima-media thickness, and lower ankle-brachial indices were related to large inter-arm SBPD (≥15mmHg). Each 5mmHg increase in inter-arm SBPD was related to a 12% higher risk of vascular events in patients without manifest vascular disease (HR 1.12; 95% CI 1.00-1.27), whereas no relation was apparent in patients with manifest vascular disease (HR 0.98; 95% CI 0.93-1.04, interaction p-value 0.036). Inter-arm SBPD was not related to all-cause mortality (HR 1.05; 95% CI 0.93-1.19).
Conclusions: Inter-arm SBPD relates to a higher risk of vascular events in patients without manifest vascular disease, whereas this relation is not apparent in patients with manifest vascular disease.
Keywords: Atherosclerosis; Inter-arm measurements; SBPD; Subclavian stenosis; Systolic blood pressure differences; Vascular disease.
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