Radiofrequency-based wall tracking for noninvasive assessment of local carotid pulse pressure: comparison with applanation tonometry and association with organ damage

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Abstract

Objectives:

Central pulse pressure (PP) has been suggested a better predictor of cardiovascular risk than brachial PP, and its routine noninvasive assessment can be useful for risk stratification. The present study evaluated the capability of a radiofrequency-based carotid wall tracking to estimate central PP from distension curves, comparing the values of carotid PP as obtained by wall tracking with those provided by applanation tonometry. Furthermore, the associations of carotid PP with intermediate markers of cardiovascular risk, like carotid intima–media thickness (IMT) and left ventricular mass (LVM), were assessed.

Methods:

Carotid PP was measured by wall tracking and applanation tonometry during the same session in 346 individuals (healthy controls, patients with hypertension and diabetes). IMT was measured in all individuals and LVM was measured in 253.

Results:

Carotid PP values as measured by wall tracking and applanation tonometry were highly correlated [r = 0.87; slope 0.90 (0.85–0.95); P < 0.0001; mean difference = 3.1 ± 6.8 mmHg], and were independently determined by the same variables (age, heart rate, triglycerides, blood pressure-lowering therapy). Carotid IMT and LVM correlated more strongly with carotid PP (r = 0.44 and 0.50; P < 0.0001 for both) than with brachial PP (r = 0.34 and 0.42; P < 0.0001 for both). Patients with carotid PP at least 50 mmHg had higher IMT, LVM, and prevalence of LV hypertrophy than those with PP less than 50 mmHg (P = 0.0001 to <0.0001).

Conclusions:

Local carotid PP as estimated by wall tracking is comparable to that obtained by applanation tonometry, and it shows a better association with target organ damage than brachial blood pressure. Assessment of carotid PP during routine ultrasound examination of extracranial carotid tree may provide additional information for individual risk stratification.

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