Objectives: The present study was designed to assess whether a diuretic- or an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor-based treatment can reduce arterial wall hypertrophy of a distal muscular medium-sized artery--the radial artery--and the stiffness of a proximal large elastic artery--the common carotid artery.
Background: Large-artery wall thickness and stiffness are increased during sustained essential hypertension and contribute to the increased risk of complications. Whether antihypertensive treatment can normalize the wall hypertrophy of conducting arteries has not yet been determined.
Methods: Seventy-seven elderly hypertensive patients were randomized to receive 9 months of double-blind treatment with perindopril (2 to 8 mg/day) or the diuretic combination of hydrochlorothiazide (12.5 to 50 mg/day) plus amiloride (1.25 to 5 mg/day) after a 1-month placebo washout period. If systolic blood pressure remained at >160 mm Hg after 5 months, chlorthalidone or atenolol was added, respectively. Arterial variables, including radial artery mass and common carotid artery compliance, were calculated from noninvasive measurements of internal diameter and wall thickness with the use of high resolution echo-tracking systems at baseline and after 5 and 9 months.
Results: During treatment, blood pressure and arterial variables changed to the same extent in both groups. After a 9-month treatment, systolic, diastolic and pulse pressures and radial artery wall thickness, mass and thickness/radius ratio decreased significantly (p < 0.01), whereas carotid compliance increased (p < 0.001). The decrease in radial artery thickness/radius ratio after a 9-month treatment was significantly related to the reduction in pulse pressure (p < 0.01), whereas the improvement in carotid compliance was related to the reduction in mean arterial pressure (p < 0.01). In healthy subjects and untreated hypertensive patients, radial artery diameter, wall thickness and thickness/radius ratio and carotid artery compliance did not change significantly during a 9-month observation period.
Conclusions: These results indicate that in elderly hypertensive patients, both angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor- and diuretic combination-based treatments can reduce radial artery wall hypertrophy and improve carotid artery compliance.