Metabolic syndrome is associated with a high risk of cardiovascular disease in hypertension. We evaluated whether metabolic syndrome is associated with early vascular alterations, such as increased peripheral wave reflections and endothelial dysfunction, in untreated essential hypertensive patients.Methods
Augmentation index and pulse wave velocity were determined with applanation tonometry in 391 untreated hypertensive patients and 166 controls. Endothelium-dependent response was assessed as flow-mediated dilation of the brachial artery. Metabolic syndrome was defined according to the latest National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment panel III.Results
Hypertensive patients showed significantly (P < 0.001) increased augmentation index and central pulse wave velocity, as well as reduced flow-mediated dilation, compared with controls. No further impairment in augmentation index or flow-mediated dilation was observed between patients with or without the metabolic syndrome components and with increasing number of metabolic syndrome. Age and systolic blood pressure, but no other single factor of the metabolic syndrome, resulted as significant predictors of augmentation index and flow-mediated dilation. Female gender was associated with increased augmentation index (P < 0.05) in the presence of the metabolic syndrome. Central pulse wave velocity was selectively impaired by metabolic syndrome in both genders. Finally, reactive hyperemia was reduced in patients with the metabolic syndrome and decreased significantly with the increasing number of metabolic syndrome.Conclusions
In untreated hypertensive patients, the presence of metabolic syndrome, which selectively impairs central pulse wave velocity, does not account for a further deterioration of peripheral wave reflection and conduit artery endothelial function. Our results suggest that blood pressure, age and gender are important determinants of peripheral vascular structural and functional parameters in these subjects, irrespective of the metabolic syndrome.