Carotid artery distensibility and distending pressure in hypertensive humans

Hypertension. 1994 Jun;23(6 Pt 2):878-83. doi: 10.1161/01.hyp.23.6.878.


Whether the decrease in large-artery distensibility observed in hypertensive patients is due primarily to an increase in distending pressure or to hypertension-induced changes in structural properties has been much debated. We determined noninvasively the diameter-pressure curve of the common carotid artery over the systolic-diastolic range by continuously recording both the pulsatile changes in internal diameter (high-resolution echo-tracking system) and, simultaneously on the contralateral artery, the pressure waveform (high-fidelity applanation tonometry). We then derived the distensibility/pressure curve and compared arterial distensibility in 14 normotensive subjects and 15 age- and sex-matched hypertensive subjects at their respective mean arterial pressures (MAP) and at a common distending pressure: 100 mm Hg. Distensibility decreased as blood pressure increased, and distensibility at MAP was significantly lower in hypertensive than in normotensive subjects (7.8 +/- 0.7 versus 11.7 +/- 1.7 kPa-1.10(-3), mean +/- SEM; P < .05). In hypertensive subjects, the distensibility-pressure curve was shifted toward higher levels of blood pressure, and a large part of the curve overlapped that of normotensive subjects. No significant downward shift of the distensibility-pressure curve was observed in hypertensive subjects, and distensibility at 100 mm Hg was not significantly different from that of normotensive subjects (10.0 +/- 1.0 versus 9.0 +/- 1.1 kPa-1.10(-3)). Distensibility at 100 mm Hg decreased with aging (P < .05) and was not reduced in hypertensive subjects compared with normotensive subjects after adjustment for age.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aging / physiology
  • Blood Pressure*
  • Carotid Arteries / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Vasomotor System / physiopathology*