Intrauterine exposure to alcohol may affect cardiovascular development, increasing risk of cardiovascular malformations. Intrauterine exposure to light maternal alcohol intake has been reported to affect human umbilical arterial contractility, and adult sheep exposed in utero have had altered cerebrovascular reactivity. In human adults, alcohol intake affects arterial stiffness.
We investigated whether intrauterine exposure to alcohol was associated with childhood pulse wave velocity (PWV), a measure of arterial stiffness.
On postnatal day 4, mothers of 147 twin pairs born in Tasmania from 1991 to 1993 reported alcohol intake during each trimester of pregnancy. At 9 years, child PWV was assessed over carotid-femoral and femoral-dorsalis pedis arterial segments by applanation tonometry.
Carotid-femoral PWV was 0.2 m/s (95% CI 0.06, 0.4) higher (indicating stiffer vessels) in children whose mothers drank alcohol in the 2nd trimester rather than abstained, after adjusting for potential confounding factors. A similar effect was not seen for femoral-dorsalis pedis PWV. Findings were independent of child blood pressure which correlated strongly with PWV. Alcohol intake varied little between trimesters, so it was not possible to assess the effect of timing of exposure.
Carotid-femoral PWV in adults is predictive of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. The degree of continuity between childhood and adulthood PWV is unknown, but as we found an association between prenatal alcohol exposure and carotid-femoral PWV at 9 years, a permanent change in vessel wall structure or function is possible. These findings need to be confirmed in other and larger cohorts, and mechanistic animal studies are needed.
Fetus; Ethanol; Pulse wave velocity; Blood pressure
Exposure to air pollution is associated with increased cardiovascular morbidity, although the underlying mechanisms are unclear. Vascular dysfunction reduces arterial compliance and increases central arterial pressure and left ventricular after-load. We determined the effect of diesel exhaust exposure on arterial compliance using a validated non-invasive measure of arterial stiffness.
In a double-blind randomized fashion, 12 healthy volunteers were exposed to diesel exhaust (approximately 350 μg/m3) or filtered air for one hour during moderate exercise. Arterial stiffness was measured using applanation tonometry at the radial artery for pulse wave analysis (PWA), as well as at the femoral and carotid arteries for pulse wave velocity (PWV). PWA was performed 10, 20 and 30 min, and carotid-femoral PWV 40 min, post-exposure. Augmentation pressure (AP), augmentation index (AIx) and time to wave reflection (Tr) were calculated.
Blood pressure, AP and AIx were generally low reflecting compliant arteries. In comparison to filtered air, diesel exhaust exposure induced an increase in AP of 2.5 mmHg (p = 0.02) and in AIx of 7.8% (p = 0.01), along with a 16 ms reduction in Tr (p = 0.03), 10 minutes post-exposure.
Acute exposure to diesel exhaust is associated with an immediate and transient increase in arterial stiffness. This may, in part, explain the increased risk for cardiovascular disease associated with air pollution exposure. If our findings are confirmed in larger cohorts of susceptible populations, this simple non-invasive method of assessing arterial stiffness may become a useful technique in measuring the impact of real world exposures to combustion derived-air pollution.
Alterations in waveforms in the uterine artery are associated with the development of pre-eclampsia and intrauterine growth restriction. We investigated the predictive accuracy of all uterine artery Doppler indices for both conditions in the first and second trimesters.
We identified relevant studies through searches of MEDLINE, EMBASE, the Cochrane Library and Medion databases (all records to April 2006) and by checking bibliographies of identified studies and consulting with experts. Four of us independently selected studies, extracted data and assessed study validity. We performed a bivariable meta-analysis of sensitivity and specificity and calculated likelihood ratios.
We identified 74 studies of pre-eclampsia (total 79 547 patients) and 61 studies of intrauterine growth restriction (total 41 131 patients). Uterine artery Doppler ultrasonography provided a more accurate prediction when performed in the second trimester than in the first-trimester. Most Doppler indices had poor predictive characteristics, but this varied with patient risk and outcome severity. An increased pulsatility index with notching was the best predictor of pre-eclampsia (positive likelihood ratio 21.0 among high-risk patients and 7.5 among low-risk patients). It was also the best predictor of overall (positive likelihood ratio 9.1) and severe (positive likelihood ratio 14.6) intrauterine growth restriction among low-risk patients.
Abnormal uterine artery waveforms are a better predictor of pre-eclampsia than of intrauterine growth restriction. A pulsatility index, alone or combined with notching, is the most predictive Doppler index. These indices should be used in clinical practice. Future research should also concentrate on combining uterine artery Doppler ultrasonography with other tests.
Outside pregnancy, arterial pulse wave analysis provides valuable information in hypertension and vascular disease. Studies in pregnancy using this technique show that vascular stiffness is raised in women with established pre-eclampsia. We aimed to establish normal ranges for parameters of pulse wave analysis in normal pregnancy and to compare different ethnic groups.
This prospective study was conducted at The Homerton University Hospital, London between January 2006 and March 2007. Using applanation tonometry, the radial artery pulse waveform was recorded and the aortic waveform derived. Augmentation pressure (AP) and Augmentation Index at heart rate 75/min (AIx-75), measures of arterial stiffness, were calculated.
We recruited 665 women with singleton pregnancies. Women who developed pre-eclampsia (n = 24, 3.6%) or gestational hypertension (n = 36, 5.4%) were excluded. We also excluded 47 women with other pregnancy complications or incomplete follow-up, leaving 541 healthy normotensive pregnant women for subsequent analysis. In the overall group of 541 women, there were no significant changes in AP or AIx-75 as pregnancy progressed. In 45 women followed longitudinally, AP and AIx-75 fell significantly from the first to the second trimester, then rose again in the third (P<0.001). The two main ethnic groups represented were Caucasian (n = 229) and Afrocaribbean (n = 216). There were no significant differences in AP or AIx-75 in any trimester between these two ethnic groups.
This study is the largest to date of pulse wave analysis in normal pregnancy, the first to report on a subset of women studied longitudinally, and the first to investigate the effect of ethnicity. These data provide the foundation for further investigation into the potential role of this technique in vascular disorders in pregnancy.
Pre-eclampsia is thought to have an important genetic component. Recently, pre-eclampsia has been associated in some studies with carriage of a common eNOS gene Glu298Asp polymorphism, a variant that leads to the replacement of glutamic acid by aspartic acid at codon 298.
Healthy women with singleton pregnancies were recruited from 7 district general hospitals in London, UK. Women at high risk of pre-eclampsia were screened by uterine artery Doppler velocimetry at 22–24 weeks of gestation and maternal blood was obtained to genotype the eNOS Glu298Asp polymorphism. Odds ratios (OR) and 95%CI, using logistic regression methods, were obtained to evaluate the association between the Glu298Asp polymorphism and pre-eclampsia. A meta-analysis was then undertaken of all published studies up to November 2005 examining the association of eNOS Glu298Asp genotype and pre-eclampsia.
89 women with pre-eclampsia and 349 controls were included in the new study. The Glu298Asp polymorphism in a recessive model was not significantly associated with pre-eclampsia (adjusted-OR: 0.83 [95%CI: 0.30–2.25]; p = 0.7). In the meta-analysis, under a recessive genetic model (1129 cases & 2384 controls) women homozygous for the Asp298 allele were not at significantly increased risk of pre-eclampsia (OR: 1.28 [95%CI: 0.76–2.16]; p = 0.34). A dominant model (1334 cases & 2894 controls) was associated with no increase of risk of pre-eclampsia for women carriers of the Asp298 allele (OR: 1.12 [95%CI: 0.84–1.49]; p = 0.42).
From the data currently available, the eNOS Glu298Asp polymorphism is not associated with a significant increased risk of pre-eclampsia. However, published studies have been underpowered, much larger studies are needed to confirm or refute a realistic genotypic risk of disease, but which might contribute to many cases of pre-eclampsia in the population.
Objective: To analyse the structural and functional abnormalities in the large arteries in women with the Turner syndrome.
Methods: Aortic stiffness (assessed by means of the carotid femoral pulse wave velocity), level of amplification of the carotid pressure wave (by applanation tonometry), and carotid remodelling (by high resolution ultrasound) were studied in women with the Turner syndrome. Clinical and ambulatory blood pressures were taken into account in the analysis. Thus, 24 patients with the Turner syndrome and 25 healthy female subjects matched for age were studied.
Results: Women with the Turner syndrome had a higher augmentation index than the controls (Turner, mean (SD) 0.04 (0.14) v controls, −0.14 (0.13), p < 0.001) but a lower peripheral pulse pressure (39 (8) mm Hg v 47 (11) mm Hg, p = 0.010 in the clinic; 44 (5) mm Hg v 47 (6) mm Hg, p = 0.036 during the 24 hour ambulatory recording). The luminal diameter of the common carotid artery and the carotid–femoral pulse wave velocity were similar in the two groups, whereas carotid intima–media thickness tended to be higher in women with the Turner syndrome (0.53 (0.06) mm v 0.50 (0.05) mm, p = 0.06). After correction for body surface area, carotid intima–media thickness and pulse wave velocity were higher in women with the Turner syndrome.
Conclusions: Vascular abnormalities observed in the Turner syndrome are implicated in the origin of the cardiovascular complications that occur in this syndrome. These abnormalities are morphological but also functional. An increase in the augmentation index can be explained in part by the short height of these patients.
Turner syndrome; large arteries; hypertension; augmentation index; arterial stiffness
This case describes a woman who presented with raised α-fetoprotein (AFP) on second trimester screening, and developed early onset fetal growth restriction (FGR) and severe pre-eclampsia (PET) before 24 weeks' gestation requiring magnesium sulphate and intravenous antihypertensives. Ultrasonography revealed a structurally normal fetus with estimated weight <3rd centile, abnormal uterine artery Dopplers and deteriorating fetal arterial Dopplers over the following 2 weeks. The pregnancy ended in fetal death before a viable weight was reached. Postmortem examination revealed a growth restricted fetus (birth weight <0.4th centile) and chronic villitis secondary to placental cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection. CMV has previously been associated with PET and FGR. This case highlights its potential role in the pathogenesis of placental failure and has relevance for counselling and management for future pregnancies. Furthermore, raised AFP may represent ongoing placental damage and offers potential for future therapeutic measures—for example, antivirals or immunisations to alter the natural history and prognosis of placental infection.
Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy complicate almost 7 – 10 % of all pregnancies. The dyad of hypertension and proteinuria after 20 weeks of gestation is referred to as pre-eclampsia. It is a major cause of maternal morbidity and mortality and is also associated with increased perinatal problems. Despite intensive research over the years the exact cause of pre-eclampsia remains unknown. Nevertheless, information gleaned from published studies point to the placenta as the probable pathogenetic focus of pre-eclampsia, as the disease usually resolves within 24 – 48 hours after delivery of the placenta. Although the precise involvement of the placenta in pre-eclampsia remains unclear there are indications that the trophoblastic invasion of the uterine spiral arteries is abnormal in women who develop pre-eclampsia. This impaired invasion leads to decreased placental perfusion and ultimately to placental hypoxia. The distressed or ischaemic placenta then secretes a factor(s) into the maternal circulation, which cause/s widespread endothelial cell dysfunction characterized by vasospasm, activation of coagulation system and organ ischaemia. The cause of the defective cytotrophoblastic invasion of the spiral arteries and the link between placental ischaemia and generalized maternal endothelial dysfunction remain unknown. Although the placenta appears to have a major role in the pathogenesis of pre-eclampsia, evidence also suggests that factors like maternal genetic predisposition, dietary, environmental and behaviour, which surface during the stress of pregnancy might also be involved in the development of pre-eclampsia. It is known that not all women with poor cytotrophoblast invasion develop pre-eclampsia and not all women with preeclampsia show poor cytotrophoblast invasion. Over the years, a number of potential risk factors associated with the development of pre-eclampsia are being recognized and it might be appropriate now to develop some preventative strategies based upon the available information.
pre-eclampsia; placenta; medical sciences
Arterial stiffness is an independent predictor of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. This study aimed to compare the 7-week effect of a low-calorie diet (LCD) and an intensive lifestyle intervention program (ILI) on arterial stiffness in morbidly obese individuals.
Design and Methods
Nonrandomized clinical trial. The LCD provided 900 kcal/day, and participants in the LCD group were instructed to maintain their habitual physical activity level. The ILI included two 90-min supervised training sessions 3 days a week at moderate to high intensity (4-8 METs) and a caloric restriction of 1000 kcal/day.
A total of 179 individuals completed the study, 88 (56 women) in the ILI group and 91 (57 women) in the LCD group. High-fidelity applanation tonometry (Millar®, Sphygmocor®) was used to measure carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (PWV). After adjustment for relevant confounders, the ILI group had a significantly greater reduction in PWV than the LCD group; −0.4 (−0.6, −0.1) m/s, P = 0.004. When compared to the LCD group, the ILI group showed a larger reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure −5 (−9, −1) and −5 (−7, −2) mmHg, P = 0.038 and P ≤ 0.001 respectively, whereas no difference was observed regarding pulse pressure, P = 0.661. No significant differences between groups were found regarding the loss of fat mass, P = 0.259, but the loss of muscle mass was larger in the LCD group, 0.8 (0.5, 1.1) kg, P ≤ 0.001.
Despite the limitations of a nonrandomized design, our findings indicate that for morbidly obese individuals a moderate caloric restriction combined with aerobic physical exercise is associated with a greater decline in PWV than a LCD alone.
Pre-eclampsia is a pregnancy complication characterized by hypertension and proteinuria. There are several factors associated with an increased risk of developing pre-eclampsia, one of which is increased uterine artery resistance, referred to as “notching”. However, some women do not progress into pre-eclampsia whereas others may have a higher risk of doing so. The placenta, central in pre-eclampsia pathology, may express genes associated with either protection or progression into pre-eclampsia. In order to search for genes associated with protection or progression, whole-genome profiling was performed. Placental tissue from 15 controls, 10 pre-eclamptic, 5 pre-eclampsia with notching, and 5 with notching only were analyzed using microarray and antibody microarrays to study some of the same gene product and functionally related ones. The microarray showed 148 genes to be significantly altered between the four groups. In the preeclamptic group compared to notch only, there was increased expression of genes related to chemotaxis and the NF-kappa B pathway and decreased expression of genes related to antigen processing and presentation, such as human leukocyte antigen B. Our results indicate that progression of pre-eclampsia from notching may involve the development of inflammation. Increased expression of antigen-presenting genes, as seen in the notch-only placenta, may prevent this inflammatory response and, thereby, protect the patient from developing pre-eclampsia.
Increased arterial stiffness and wave reflection have been identified as cardiovascular disease risk factors. In light of significant sex differences and the moderate heritability of vascular function measures, we hypothesized that variation in the genes coding for estrogen receptors alpha (ESR1) and beta (ESR2) and aromatase (CYP19A1) is associated with aortic stiffness and pressure wave reflection as measured by noninvasive arterial tonometry. 1261 unrelated Framingham Offspring Study participants who attended the 7th examination cycle (mean age 62±10 years, 52% women) and had arterial tonometry and genotyping data were included in the study. ANCOVA was used to assess the association of polymorphisms with forward wave amplitude, augmented pressure, augmentation index, carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity, and mean arterial pressure with adjustment for potential confounders. In the sex-pooled analysis, those homozygous for the minor allele at any of four ESR1 variants that were in strong linkage disequilibrium ((TA)n, rs2077647, rs2234693 and rs9340799) had on average 18% higher augmented pressure and 16% greater augmentation index compared to carriers of one or two major alleles (p=0.0002–0.01). A similar magnitude of association was detected in those homozygous for the common allele at two ESR2 SNPs (p=0.007–0.02). Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that variation in ESR1 and ESR2, but not CYP19A1, is associated with increased wave reflection, which may contribute to previously demonstrated associations between these variants and adverse clinical events. Our findings will need to be replicated in additional cohorts.
arterial stiffness; tonometry; estrogen receptor; polymorphism
Background and Objectives
Increased central arterial stiffness is an emerging risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Acute aerobic exercise reduces arterial stiffness, while acute resistance exercise may increase arterial stiffness, but this is not a universal finding. We tested whether an acute resistance exercise program was associated with an increase in arterial stiffness in healthy young men.
Subjects and Methods
Thirteen healthy subjects were studied under parallel experimental conditions on 2 separate days. The order of experiments was randomized between resistance exercise (8 resistance exercises at 60% of 1 repeated maximal) and sham control (seated rest in the exercise room). Carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (PWV) and aortic augmentation index as indices of aortic stiffness were measured using applanation tonometry. Measurements were made at baseline before treatments, 20 minutes, and 40 minutes after treatments (resistance exercise and sham control).
There was no difference in resting heart rate or in arterial stiffness between the two experimental conditions at baseline. At 20 minutes after resistance exercise, heart rate, carotid-femoral PWV and augmentation index@75(%) were significantly increased in the resistance exercise group compared with the sham control (p<0.05). Brachial blood pressure, central blood pressure and pulse pressure were not significantly increased after resistance exercise.
An acute resistance exercise program can increase arterial stiffness in young healthy men. Further studies are needed to clarify the effects of long-term resistance training on arterial stiffness.
Arterial stiffness; Resistance training
We tested the hypothesis that weight loss via a hypocaloric diet would reduce arterial stiffness in overweight and obese middle-aged and older adults. Thirty-six individuals were randomly assigned to a weight loss (n=25; age: 61.2±0.8 years; body mass index: 30.0±0.6 kg/m2) or a control (n=11; age: 66.1±1.9 years; body mass index: 31.8±1.4 kg/m2) group. Arterial stiffness was measured via carotid artery ultrasonography combined with applanation tonometry and carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity via applanation tonometry at baseline and after the 12-week intervention. Body weight, body fat, abdominal adiposity, blood pressure, β-stiffness index, and carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity were similar in the 2 groups at baseline (all P>0.05). Body weight (−7.1±0.7 versus −0.7±1.1 kg), body fat, and abdominal adiposity decreased in the weight loss group but not in the control group (all P<0.05). Brachial systolic and diastolic blood pressures declined (P<0.05) only in the weight loss group. Central systolic and pulse pressures did not change significantly in either group. β-Stiffness index (−1.24±0.22 versus 0.52±0.37 U) and carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (−187±29 versus 15±42 cm/s) decreased in the weight loss group but not in the control group (all P<0.05). The reductions in carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity were correlated with reductions in total body and abdominal adiposity (r=0.357– 0.602; all P<0.05). However, neither total body nor abdominal adiposity independently predicted reductions in arterial stiffness indices. In summary, our findings indicate that weight loss reduces arterial stiffness in overweight/obese middle-aged and older adults, and the magnitudes of these improvements are related to the loss of total and abdominal adiposity.
arterial structure; arterial compliance; aging; pulse wave velocity; caloric restriction
To determine early haemodynamic changes in pre-eclampsia (PE) using tissue Doppler echocardiography and brain natriuretic peptide (BNP), and to relate these changes to obstetric outcomes.
Consenting primigravidae patients in the third trimester of pregnancy were included in the study, which was carried out in a large regional hospital in Durban, South Africa; 115 primigravidae (52 pre-eclamptics and 63 normotensive pregnant patients) attending the maternity unit including the antenatal clinics at the study site were studied. The patients, matched for maternal and gestational age, were examined during pregnancy and within the puerperium. Transthoracic echocardiography (TTE), tissue Doppler imaging (TDI), umbilical artery Doppler and laboratory investigations were performed.
BNP levels were significantly increased in the antepartum period [23.8 (2–184.1) vs 6.0 (0.5–45.2) pmol/l; p < 0.0001] and during labour [15.0 (1.8–206.4) vs 8.7 (1.9–24.8) pmol/l; p < 0.01] in the pre-eclamptic group compared to the normotensive controls. In the postpartum period, mean BNP levels were 4.2 (1.7–51.4) and 5.95 (2.2–38.7) pmol/l in the pre-eclamptic and normotensive groups, respectively (p > 0.05). Tissue Doppler Em/Ea ratios were elevated in the pre-eclamptic compared to the normotensive group (11.02 ± 5.6 vs 9.16 ± 2.6; p < 0.05). Mean left atrial size was larger (38 mm) in the pre-eclamptic group than in the normotensive group (35 mm) but this difference was not significant (p > 0.05).
The umbilical artery resistance index was significantly higher in the pre-eclamptic group compared to the normotensive group (0.68 ± 0.06 vs 0.63 ± 0.05; p < 0.001). There was an increased rate of Caesarean sections performed in the pre-eclamptic group (n = 24) compared to the normotensive group (n = 18; p < 0.001). There were two stillbirths in the pre-eclamptic group and none in the normotensive group. As expected, birth weight (2.6 ± 0.8 kg vs 3.14 ± 0.42 kg; p < 0.0001) was lower in the pre-eclamptic group compared to the normotensive group.
In pregnancies complicated by pre-eclampsia, BNP levels were increased in comparison to normotensive pregnancies and this was accompanied by early changes in left ventricular diastolic function as determined by the tissue Doppler Em/Ea ratios. These changes reverted to baseline values, as indicated by return of BNP levels in the pre-eclamptic group to levels seen in the normotensive group. These changes were associated with an increased Caesarean section rate and lower birth weights in pre-eclamptic mothers.
pre-eclampsia; brain natriuretic peptide; tissue Doppler; echocardiography
To evaluate occurrence of adverse maternal and perinatal outcomes with different thresholds of proteinuria (300-499mg and ≥500mg/24 hours) in pre-eclamptic women, comparing outcomes against women with chronic and gestational hypertension.
Secondary analysis of the Vitamins in Pre-Eclampsia Trial.
25 UK hospitals in ten geographical areas.
946 women with pre-existing risk factors for pre-eclampsia.
Women with pre-eclampsia and proteinuria 300-499mg/24h (PE300, referent group, n=60) or proteinuria ≥500 mg/24h (PE500, n=161) were compared with two groups of non-proteinuric women with chronic hypertension (CHT, n=615) or gestational hypertension (GH, n=110).
Main Outcome Measures
Maternal: progression to severe hypertension. Perinatal: small for gestational age (SGA) <5th centile, gestation at delivery.
Severe hypertension occurred more frequently in PE500 (35%) and PE300 (27%) than CHT (5.9%; P≤0.01) and GH (10%; p≤0.001). Gestation at delivery was earlier in PE500 (33.2w) than PE300 (37.3w; P≤0.001), and later in CHT (38.3w; P≤0.05) and GH (39.1w; P≤0.001). SGA infants were more frequent in PE300 (32%) than in CHT (13.3%; P≤0.001) and GH (16.5%; P≤0.05). Women in PE500 were more likely to have a caesarean section than PE300 (78% vs. 48%; P≤0.001), and to receive magnesium sulphate (17% vs. 1.7%, P≤0.05).
Women with PE300 have complication rates above those of women managed as out-patients (GH and CHT), meriting closer surveillance and confirming 300 mg/d as an appropriate threshold for determining in-patient management. Adverse perinatal outcomes are higher still in women with PE500.
The adaption of elastic arteries to transient increase in hemodynamic load in normal pregnancy (NP) remains controversial. The purpose of this study was to investigate the NP carotid remodeling and regional arterial stiffness before and after parturition.
Fifty-one NP women and 30 age-matched non-pregnant women were included. All women underwent right common carotid artery (RCCA) measurements with MylabTwice ultrasound instrument (Esaote, Italy). Carotid intima-medial thickness (IMT), pulse wave velocity (PWV, m/s), distensibility coefficient (DC, 1/KPa), α, β, augmentation index (AIx, %) and carotid arterial pressure were obtained by the newly developed ultrasound vascular wall tracking methods: automatic QAS (Quality Arterial Stiffness) and QIMT (Quality Intima-Medial Thickness) Follow up study was performed.
Compared to the non-pregnant controls, the arterial pressures were significantly increased and RCCA diameter was significantly enlarged in late gestational NP women. Twenty months after parturition, carotid diameter, DC, AIx, PWV and arterial wall tension were significantly decreased and had no significant difference with those in non-pregnant controls.
Carotid arterial remodeling and stiffening could be seen in the normal pregnant women, which seems to be a physiological adaption and could be recovered post partum. QIMT and QAS together could provide a comprehensive assessment of the maternal carotid arterial changes during pregnancy.
Arterial stiffness; Intima-media thickness; Carotid artery; Normal pregnancy; Arterial remodeling
It is uncertain if the higher blood pressure (BP) observed in the offspring of hypertensive pregnancies is an isolated abnormality or one that is accompanied by impaired vascular function and alterations in lipid and inflammation markers that would be indicative of a more general cardiometabolic disturbance of the type observed in the mother during pre-eclampsia.
Methods and results
In a large UK cohort of maternal-offspring pairs (n = 3537–4654), assessed at age 9–12 years, we examined the associations of maternal gestational hypertension and pre-eclampsia with offspring BP, endothelial function assessed by brachial artery flow-mediated dilatation; arterial stiffness assessed by carotid to radial pulse wave velocity; brachial artery distensibility and BP (vascular outcomes); as well as markers of inflammation, lipids and apolipoproteins A1 and B. Offspring of women with pre-eclampsia or gestational hypertension had higher systolic blood pressure by 2.04 mmHg (95% CI: 1.33, 2.76) and 1.82 mmHg (95% CI: 0.03, 3.62), respectively, and higher diastolic blood pressure by 1.10 mmHg (95% CI: 0.47, 1.73) and 1.26 mmHg (95% CI: −0.32, 2.85), respectively, in analyses adjusted for maternal and offspring body mass index (BMI), offspring dietary sodium intake and other potential confounders. However, we found no associations of either hypertensive disorder of pregnancy with the other vascular outcomes or with inflammatory markers, lipids, and apolipoproteins.
Pre-eclampsia and gestational hypertension are associated with higher offspring BP in childhood in the absence of other vascular alterations or metabolic derangements. The findings support the existence of shared mother-offspring risk factors that are specific for higher BP, rather than the additional cardiometabolic abnormalities of hypertensive disorder of pregnancy having long-term consequences for offspring.
Hypertensive disorder of pregnancy; Endothelial function; Arterial stiffness; Blood pressure; Lipids; ALSPAC
Arterial stiffness is an important clinical marker of cardiovascular diseases. Although many studies have been conducted on different racial groups, less is known about arterial stiffness in Asian Americans. Korean Americans constitute the fifth largest subgroup in the Asian American population and reportedly have a noticeably high prevalence of hypertension. The aims of this study were to assess arterial stiffness and blood pressure and to examine the effect of age and gender on arterial stiffness and blood pressure in 102 Korean American men and women aged 21 to 60 years. The values of arterial stiffness for Korean Americans in this study were compared to published reference values for other racial and ethnic groups. Arterial stiffness was measured by carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity, which is the gold standard for determining arterial stiffness. Findings indicated that aging was an important determinant of arterial stiffness, which increased linearly with age. Although there was no gender difference observed in arterial stiffness, the effect of age on arterial stiffness was greater in women than in men. After adjusting for covariates including age, body mass index, and smoking, multiple regression models showed that arterial stiffness and gender were significant predictors of systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The comparisons of these findings to those from several other studies that used the same method to measure arterial stiffness showed that Korean Americans may have levels of arterial stiffness that are similar to or slightly higher than those of other racial groups. Considering that arterial stiffness is an independent predictor of future development of hypertension, more studies are required to examine cardiovascular risk of this understudied group.
arterial stiffness; hypertension; Korean Americans
Obesity is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Arterial stiffness assessed by carotid femoral pulse wave velocity (PWV) is an independent predictor of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. We aimed to investigate how various measures of body composition affect arterial stiffness.
This is an analysis of cross-sectional baseline data from a controlled clinical trial addressing changes in arterial stiffness after either surgery or lifestyle intervention in a population of morbidly obese patients. High-fidelity applanation tonometry (Millar®, Sphygmocor®) was used to measure pulse wave velocity (PWV). Carotid femoral PWV is a direct measure of arterial stiffness and is considered to be the gold standard method. The Inbody 720 Body Composition Analyzer was used for bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA). Spearman's correlation, independent samples t-test, chi-square tests, Fisher's exact test and multiple linear regression analyses were used as statistical methods.
A total of 133 patients (79 women), with a mean (SD) age of 43 (11) years were included in the study. Men had a significantly higher prevalence of obesity related comorbidities and significantly higher PWV, 9.1 (2.0) m/s vs. 8.1 (1.8) m/s, p = 0.003, than women. In the female group, PWV was positively correlated with WC, WHtR, BMI and visceral fat area. In the male group, PWV was negatively correlated with BMI. Multiple linear regression analysis showed that increasing BMI, WC, WHtR, visceral fat area and fat mass were independently associated with higher PWV in women, but not in men, after adjustment for age, hypertension and type 2 diabetes.
Most measures of general and abdominal obesity were predictors of arterial stiffness in female morbidly obese patients.
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier NCT00626964
Arterial stiffness predicts cardiovascular events beyond traditional risk factors. However, the relationship with aging of novel noninvasive measures of aortic function by MRI and their interrelationship with established markers of vascular stiffness remain unclear and currently limit their potential impact. Our aim was to compare age-related changes of central measures of aortic function with carotid distensibility, global carotid–femoral pulse wave velocity, and wave reflections. We determined aortic strain, distensibility, and aortic arch pulse wave velocity by MRI, carotid distensibility by ultrasound, and carotid–femoral pulse wave velocity by tonometry in 111 asymptomatic subjects (54 men, age range: 20 to 84 years). Central pressures were used to calculate aortic distensibility. Peripheral and central pulse pressure, augmentation index, and carotid–femoral pulse wave velocity increased with age, but aortic strain and aortic arch PWV were most closely and specifically related to aging. Ascending aortic (AA) strain and distensibility decreased, respectively, by 5.3±0.5% (R2 = 0.54, P<0.0001) and 13.6±1 kPa−1×10−3 (R2=0.62, P<0.0001), and aortic arch pulse wave velocity increased by 1.6±0.13 m/sec (R2=0.60, P<0.0001) for each decade of age after adjustment for gender, body size, and heart rate. We demonstrate in this study a dramatic decrease in AA distensibility before the fifth decade of life in individuals with diverse prevalence of risk factors free of overt cardiovascular disease. In particular, compared with other measures of aortic function, the best markers of subclinical large artery stiffening, were AA distensibility in younger and aortic arch pulse wave velocity in older individuals.
MRI; aorta; aging; elasticity; pulse wave velocity
Non-invasive assessment of arterial pressure wave forms using applanation tonometry of the radial or carotid arteries can be technically challenging and has not found wide clinical application. 2D imaging of the common carotid arteries is routinely used and we sought to determine whether arterial waveform measurements could be derived from tissue Doppler imaging (TDI) of the carotid artery.
We studied 91 subjects (52 men, age 52 ± 14 years) with and without cardiovascular disease. Tonometry was performed on the carotid artery simultaneously with pulsed wave Doppler of the LVOT and acquired digitally. Longitudinal 2D images of the common carotid artery with and without TDI were also acquired digitally and both TDI and tonometry were calibrated using mean and diastolic cuff pressure and analysed off line.
Correlation between central pressure by TDI and tonometry was excellent for maximum pressure (r = 0.97, p < 0.0001). The mean differences between central pressures derived by TDI and tonometry were minimal (systolic 5.36 ± 5.5 mmHg; diastolic 1.2 ± 1.2 mmHg).
Imaging of the common carotid artery motion with tissue Doppler may permit acquisition of a waveform analogous to that from tonometry. This method may simplify estimation of central arterial pressure and calculation of total arterial compliance.
Pre-eclampsia is a potentially serious condition that still accounts for significant morbidity and mortality for the affected mother and neonate. Although the pathogenesis is not fully understood, it is now widely accepted that vascular endothelial dysfunction is the most important and principal event in the pathophysiology of the disease. The aims of our study were to compare serum soluble endoglin levels at week 13 in normotensive pregnant women and in high-risk women, to determine whether the maternal plasma soluble endoglin concentration at 26 weeks is increased in pregnancies that subsequently develop pre-eclampsia, and to identify if soluble endoglin measurement improves the results of screening for pre-eclampsia.
This work was conducted in 60 healthy pregnant controls and 110 pregnant women at high risk for pre-eclampsia. Gestational age was confirmed by date of last menstrual period and first trimester ultrasound. The time of onset of pre-eclampsia was defined as the time of first elevated blood pressure or urinary protein measurement leading to the diagnosis. Blood samples were collected for measurement of soluble endoglin and other routine laboratory tests, including measurement of urinary proteins. Serum soluble endoglin was estimated by sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
There was a highly significant increase in serum soluble endoglin in high-risk women compared with controls at week 13 (P < 0.001). Further determination of soluble endoglin revealed a more significant increase in women who developed early-onset pre-eclampsia compared with those who developed late-onset pre-eclampsia. Moreover, a significant positive correlation was found between soluble endoglin and both diastolic blood pressure and total urinary protein, ie, severity of pre-eclampsia.
Estimation of serum soluble endoglin at gestational week 13 could be used as a sensitive screening test for women at high risk of developing pre-eclampsia prior to onset of its clinical manifestations, which could potentially improve the outcome of pregnancy.
pregnancy; pre-eclampsia; high risk; gestational age; endoglin
Women with severe pre-eclampsia/eclampsia are at risk of developing chronic hypertension in future. Chronic hypertension may manifest initially as persistent hypertension at the end of the puerperium. The objective was to determine the incidence and maternal biochemical, hematological and socio-demographic risk factors for persistent hypertension in patients with pre-eclampsia/eclampsia.
This was a prospective cohort study conducted from November 2008 to May 2009 at Mulago hospital labor ward and postnatal clinic. Participants were 200 women managed for pre-eclampsia/eclampsia and followed up to the end of the puerperium. Data was collected through using pre-coded interviewer-administered questionnaires, checking medical records and laboratory investigations. STATA (release 9) software was used for data analysis. At bivariate analysis, the relative risk of persistent hypertension was estimated at the 95% confidence level. Using multivariate logistic regression analysis, factors that were independently associated with persistent hypertension were evaluated.
Fifty four (27.7%) out of the total 195 women had persistent hypertension after puerperium. Serum creatinine and the age of the patient were the only factors associated with persistence of hypertension after puerperium.
Nearly every one in four mothers with pre-eclampsia/eclampsia are at risk of persistent hypertension after the puerperium. Serum creatinine, serum uric acid and participants' age were the only factors independently associated with persistence of hypertension after the puerperium.
We hypothesized that carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity, a marker of arterial stiffness, interacts with age such that the magnitude of associations between pulse wave velocity and cognitive performance are greater with increasing age, and that this interaction is observed despite adjustments for demographic variables, mean arterial pressure, and cardiovascular risk factors. Pulse wave velocity was estimated using applanation tonometry in 409 dementia- and stroke-free participants of the Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study (24 to 92 years of age, 62.3% women). Using linear regression analyses in a cross-sectional design, associations between pulse wave velocity, age, and the interaction of pulse wave velocity and age were examined in relation to a Global composite score, the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale Similarities test (abstract reasoning) and four cognitive domains indexed by multiple cognitive measures. Adjusting for age, gender, education, height, weight, heart rate, mean arterial pressure, and antihypertensive treatment, pulse wave velocity by age interactions were obtained for the Global, Visual-Spatial Organization and Memory, Scanning and Tracking, and Verbal Episodic Memory composites, and Similarities. The combination of higher pulse wave velocity and age resulted in progressively lower cognitive performance. This finding was the same with an extended model which also included adjustment for cardiovascular risk factors and other confounds. Pulse wave velocity interacts with age in a multiplicative way to exert a negative influence on cognitive performance level. Early interventions to prevent an increase in arterial stiffness could possibly play an important role in preservation of cognitive ability.
pulse wave velocity; hypertension; age; cognitive performance; cognitive functioning; cognition; blood pressure
Placental malaria and pre-eclampsia occur frequently in women in tropics and are leading causes of maternal and perinatal morbidities and mortality. Few data exist concerning the interaction between placental malaria and pre-eclampsia.
A case control study was conducted in Medani Hospital, which locates in an area of unstable malaria transmission in Central Sudan. Case (N = 143) were women with pre-eclampsia, which was defined as systolic blood presure≥140 mm Hg or diastolic blood pressure ≥ 90 mm Hg and proteinuria. Controls were parturient women (N = 143) without any blood pressure values > 139/89 mm Hg or proteinuria. Obstetrical and medical characteristics were gathered from both groups through structured questionnaires. Placental histopathology examinations for malaria were performed.
Twenty-eight (19.6%) vs. 16 (11.2%); P = 0.04 of the cases vs. controls, had placental malaria infections. Five (2%), 1 (2%) and 22 (28.0%) vs. 1, 2 and 13 of the placentae showed acute, chronic and past infection on histopathology examination in the two groups respectively, while 115 (80.4%) vs.127 (88.8%) of them showed no infection, P = 0.04. In multivariate analysis, while there were no associations between age, parity, educational level, lack of antenatal care, blood groups and body mass index and pre-eclampsia; family history of hypertension and placental malaria (OR = 2.3, 95% CI = 1.0-5.2; P = 0.04) were significantly associated with pre-eclampsia.
Placental malaria was associated with pre-eclampsia. Further research is needed.