The comparison of endothelial function between conduit artery and microvasculature in patients with coronary artery disease

Cardiol J. 2020;27(1):38-46. doi: 10.5603/CJ.a2018.0077. Epub 2018 Aug 29.


Background: Flow-mediated dilation (FMD) and reactive hyperemia-peripheral arterial tonometry (RH-PAT) are both established modalities to assess vascular endothelial function. However, clinical significance of FMD and RH-PAT may be different because these methods measure vascular function in different vessels (conduit arteries and resistance vessels).

Methods: To elucidate differences in the clinical significance of FMD and RH-PAT, a simultaneous determination of FMD was performed and reactive hyperemia index (RHI) measured by RH-PAT in 131 consecutive patients who underwent coronary angiography for suspicion of coronary artery disease (CAD).

Results: There was no significant correlation between FMD and RHI in patients overall. When patients were divided into four groups: FMD ≥ 6%/RHI ≥ 1.67 group, FMD ≥ 6%/RHI < 1.67 group, FMD < 6%/RHI ≥ 1.67 group and FMD < 6%/RHI < 1.67 group, the highest incidence of multivessel CAD was seen in the FMD < 6%/RHI < 1.67 group (52%). Multiple logistic regression analysis showed that a prevalence of both FMD < 6% and RHI < 1.67 was an independent predictor of multivessel CAD (odds ratio: 4.160, 95% confidence interval: 1.505-11.500, p = 0.006). RHI was negatively correlated with the baseline vessel diameter (R = -0.268, p = 0.0065) and maximum vessel diameter (R = -0.266, p = 0.0069) in patients with FMD < 6%, whereas these correlations were absent in patients with FMD ≥ 6%.

Conclusions: Present results suggest that noninvasive assessment of vascular endothelial functions provide pathophysiological information on both conduit arteries and resistance vessels in patients with CAD.

Keywords: coronary artery disease; flow mediated-dilation; reactive hyperemia index; reactive hyperemia-peripheral arterial tonometry; vascular endothelial function.