Aortic Arch Stiffness Is Associated With Incipient Brain Injury in Patients With Hypertension

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It has been shown that microstructural brain tissue damage can be detected in hypertension patients, while the underlying mechanisms are not fully understood. We aim to explore the association between diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) measures of brain injury and aortic arch pulse wave velocity (PWV) in hypertensive patients without clinically manifest cerebrovascular disease.


Sixty-six hypertension patients (30 men, mean age 46±14 years) were prospectively included. Aortic arch PWV was assessed using velocity-encoded magnetic resonance imaging (VE-MRI). Brain tissue integrity was assessed by using DTI. Multivariable linear regression analysis was performed to assess the association between aortic arch PWV and fractional anisotropy (FA), axial diffusivity (AxD), and radial diffusivity (RD).


Increased aortic arch PWV was associated with decreased white matter FA (β = −0.30, P = 0.018), increased gray matter AxD (β = 0.28, P = 0.016), and increased gray and white matter RD (β = 0.30, P = 0.008 and β = 0.35, P = 0.003, respectively). These effects were independent of age, sex, body mass index, smoking, and white matter hyperintensity (WMH) volume.


Aortic arch stiffness relates to incipient brain injury before overt brain abnormalities may become apparent in patients with hypertension.

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