(HealthDay News) – Measures showing higher aortic stiffness and pressure pulsatility are precursors to, not a result of, incident hypertension, according to a study published in the Sept 5 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Bernhard M Kaess, MD, from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s Framingham Heart Study in Massachusetts, and colleagues used data from the last two examination cycles (examination Cycle 7: 1998–2001; examination Cycle 8: 2005–2008) of a longitudinal community-based cohort study (the Framingham Offspring Study). Over a seven-year period, temporal relationships between blood pressure and three measures of vascular stiffness and pressure pulsatility were derived from arterial tonometry (carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity [CFPWV], forward wave amplitude [FWA], and augmentation index) in 1,759 participants (mean age, 60 years).

The researchers found that high FWA and CFPWV during examination Cycle 7 correlated significantly with systolic blood pressure in examination Cycle 8. Higher FWA, CFPWV, and augmentation index in examination Cycle 7 correlated significantly with incident hypertension in examination Cycle 8, in a model that included systolic and diastolic blood pressure and additional risk factors during Cycle 7. In contrast, blood pressure in examination Cycle 7 did not correlate with CFPWV in examination Cycle 8. In models including blood pressure and tonometry measures collected in Cycle 7, higher resting brachial artery flow and lower flow-mediated dilation in examination Cycle 7 correlated with incident hypertension.

“Our findings support the notion that vascular stiffness is a precursor rather than the result of hypertension,” the authors write.

One of the study authors owns Cardiovascular Engineering Inc.

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