Elevated blood pressure (BP) level is one of the most consistently identified risk factors for silent brain disease. BP values obtained at the proximal segment of the aorta (central BP) are more directly involved than brachial BP in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease. However, the association between central BP and silent cerebrovascular disease has not been clearly established. Participants in the CABL (Cardiovascular Abnormalities and Brain Lesions) study (n=993; mean age, 71.7±9.3 years; 37.9% men) underwent 2-dimensional echocardiography, arterial wave reflection analysis for determination of central BPs, and brain magnetic resonance imaging. Central BPs were calculated from the radial pulse waveform. Subclinical silent cerebrovascular disease was defined as silent brain infarction and white matter hyperintensity volume. Both brachial (P=0.014) and central pulse pressure (P=0.026) were independently associated with silent brain infarctions after adjustment for clinical variables, but not adjusting for each other. None of the brachial BP values was associated with upper quartile of white matter hyperintensity volume in multivariable analysis. Both central systolic BP (P<0.001) and central pulse pressure (P<0.001) were significantly associated with upper quartile of white matter hyperintensity volume in multivariable analysis, even after adjustment for brachial BP. In a predominantly older population-based cohort, both brachial and central pulse pressure were independently associated with silent brain infarction. However, higher central systolic BP and central pulse pressure, but not brachial BP, were significantly associated with white matter hyperintensity volume.
Keywords: brain infarction; cardiovascular diseases; hypertension; stroke; white matter.