Remodeling of the radial artery in response to a chronic increase in shear stress

Hypertension. 1996 Mar;27(3 Pt 2):799-803. doi: 10.1161/01.hyp.27.3.799.


Chronic changes in large artery blood flow rates induce corresponding adjustments in arterial diameter, but little is known about structural adaptations of the vessel wall in humans. We used a high-resolution echo-tracking system to measure radial artery internal diameter, wall thickness, and mean blood flow on both arms of 11 patients with end-stage renal disease. Measurements were performed on the wrist side of the arteriovenous fistula. The contralateral radial artery was investigated as control. Wall cross-sectional area, circumferential wall stress, and mean wall shear stress were calculated. Results indicate a sixfold increase in blood flow on the side of the arteriovenous fistula compared with the control side, with a 1.4-fold increase in internal diameter. The diameter enlargement was sufficient to normalize wall shear stress. Changes in diameter were not associated with arterial wall hypertrophy because wall cross-sectional area was not increased and rather suggest a "remodeling" of the arterial wall. For the same level of blood pressure, circumferential wall stress was increased on the side of the arteriovenous fistula. These results suggest that the structural adaptations of the arterial wall to a chronic increase in blood flow normalize wall shear stress and overcome stretch-induced changes in the particular circumstance of arteriovenous fistula.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Blood Pressure
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radial Artery / physiopathology*
  • Regional Blood Flow
  • Renal Insufficiency / physiopathology*
  • Vasoconstriction