The heart and vascular changes in hypertension

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Aim:To review present knowledge on the causes of cardiovascular changes in hypertension and on the effects of antihypertensive treatment.Background:The clinical manifestations of hypertensive heart disease have changed considerably in recent decades, from predominantly cardiac failure to predominantly left ventricular hypertrophy, which is an independent risk factor for all cardiovascular events. This change parallels the recent development of ultrasonic devices which make it possible to investigate the vessels as well as the heart. These devices have shown that there are different types of cardiac remodeling, which are associated with different hemodynamic profiles.Treatment of cardiovascular remodeling:Recent studies have shown that antihypertensive treatment, both pharmacological and non-pharmacological, can significantly reduce left ventricular hypertrophy in hypertensive patients without jeopardizing the hemodynamic balance. However, hypertensive vessel disease has been less extensively investigated, with many studies concentrating on the carotid arteries. There appears to be a correlation between cardiac and carotid artery changes but so far there is no information on the effects of the antihypertensive treatment on the carotid alterations.

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