Pulse pressure reduction and cardiovascular protection

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Brachial pulse pressure (PP) is now a well-established cardiovascular risk factor. Central rather than peripheral PP should be measured to determine the ‘true’ haemodynamic effects of antihypertensive agents on target organs. Peripheral PP, measured at the brachial artery, does not reflect central PP (either carotid or ascending aorta), because their determinants are different and pathophysiological conditions and drugs may change central PP without changing peripheral PP. Central PP (i.e. carotid artery or ascending aorta) has shown an independent predictive value for all-cause mortality in patients with end-stage renal disease and in the hypertensive patients of the CAFE study. Antihypertensive treatment has repeatedly demonstrated its ability to prevent cardiovascular events. Whether the effect on cardiovascular events in clinical trials comparing two pharmacological classes or two therapeutic strategies is, at least partly, the result of differential effects on PP remains to be demonstrated. It is therefore of major importance to determine which therapeutic strategies may differentially lower central PP, and in turn reduce cardiovascular events. In clinical practice, lowering PP is often a difficult task, particularly in diabetic hypertensive individuals. In the PARADIS study, we aimed to determine, in a population of hypertensive patients with both type 2 diabetes and PP greater than 60 mmHg, which clinical characteristics predict the fall in PP on treatment and a reduction in cardiovascular events. The reinforcement of therapeutic measures, including a fixed low-dose perindopril/indapamide combination, made possible the effective lowering of PP and cardiovascular events in type 2 diabetic hypertensive patients, under conditions of usual care by general practitioners and specialists.

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