Lack of correlation between cardiac mass and arteriolar structural changes in mild-to-moderate hypertension

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A morphological restructuring of cardiac and arteriolar tissue is common in hypertension. The parallel evolution of these two processes as a compensatory response to pressure overload is a frequently assumed but unsubstantiated hypothesis. To evaluate this possibility, we have concomitantly measured left ventricular mass (LVM; two-dimensional echo) and minimal forearm vascular resistance (FVR; derived from the ratio of intra-arterial blood pressure: forearm blood flow by venous plethysmography) at maximal postischemic (13min ischemia + 1 min hand exercise) reactive hyperemia. The study was performed on 29 essential hypertensive patients (15 males, 14 females, aged 50 ± 10 years) who had not been undergoing treatment for hypertension for at least 15 days at the time of study. Minimum FVR was taken as a hemodynamic index of the integrated arteriolar lumen at the forearm level. LVM index and minimum FVR ranged from normal to clearly altered values. In spite of a wide spread of values, no correlation existed between the individual values of the two variables. Systemic mean blood pressure correlated with minimum FVR and tended to correlate with LVMI. Thus, morphological restructing of cardiac and arteriolar tissue does not seem to evolve in parallel in human hypertension. Pressure overload may contribute to cardiovascular hypertrophy, but other unrelated mechanisms may also underlie the development of cardiac and arteriolar abnormalities of human hypertension

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