Aortic distensibility is associated with both resting and hyperemic coronary blood flow

Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2019 Oct 1;317(4):H811-H819. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00067.2019. Epub 2019 Aug 23.


A large body of evidence demonstrates an independent association between arterial stiffness and prospective risk of cardiovascular events. A reduction in coronary perfusion is presumed to underscore this association; however, studies confirming this are lacking. This study compared invasive measures of coronary blood flow (CBF) with cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR)-derived aortic distensibility (AD). Following coronary angiography, a Doppler FloWire and infusion microcatheter were advanced into the study vessel. Average peak velocity (APV) was acquired at baseline and following intracoronary adenosine to derive coronary flow velocity reserve (CFVR = hyperemic APV/resting APV) and CBF [π × (diameter)2 × APV × 0.125]. Following angiography, patients underwent CMR to evaluate distensibility at the ascending aorta (AA), proximal descending aorta (PDA) and distal descending aorta (DDA). Fifteen participants (53 ± 13 yr) with minor epicardial disease (maximum stenosis <30%) were enrolled. Resting CBF was 44.1 ± 11.9 mL/min, hyperemic CBF was 143.8 ± 37.4 mL/min, and CFVR was 3.15 ± 0.48. AD was 3.89 ± 1.72·10-3mmHg-1 at the AA, 4.08 ± 1.80·10-3mmHg-1 at the PDA, and 4.42 ± 1.67·10-3mmHg-1 at the DDA. All levels of distensibility correlated with resting CBF (R2 = 0.350-0.373, P < 0.05), hyperemic CBF (R2 = 0.453-0.464, P < 0.01), and CFVR (R2 = 0.442-0.511, P < 0.01). This study demonstrates that hyperemic and, to a lesser extent resting CBF, are significantly associated with measures of aortic stiffness in patients with only minor angiographic disease. These findings provide further in vivo support for the observed prognostic capacity of large artery function in cardiovascular event prediction.NEW & NOTEWORTHY Cardiac magnetic resonance-derived aortic distensibility is associated with invasive measures of coronary blood flow. Large artery function is more strongly correlated with hyperemic than resting blood flow. Increased stiffness may represent a potential target for novel antianginal medications.

Keywords: arterial stiffness; coronary blood flow; magnetic resonance imaging.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine / administration & dosage
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aorta / diagnostic imaging
  • Aorta / physiopathology*
  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Coronary Angiography
  • Coronary Circulation*
  • Coronary Stenosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Coronary Stenosis / physiopathology*
  • Coronary Vessels / diagnostic imaging
  • Coronary Vessels / physiopathology*
  • Echocardiography, Doppler
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperemia / physiopathology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Vascular Stiffness*
  • Vasodilator Agents / administration & dosage


  • Vasodilator Agents
  • Adenosine