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1.  Office and 24-hour heart rate and target organ damage in hypertensive patients 
We investigated the association between heart rate and its variability with the parameters that assess vascular, renal and cardiac target organ damage.
A cross-sectional study was performed including a consecutive sample of 360 hypertensive patients without heart rate lowering drugs (aged 56 ± 11 years, 64.2% male). Heart rate (HR) and its standard deviation (HRV) in clinical and 24-hour ambulatory monitoring were evaluated. Renal damage was assessed by glomerular filtration rate and albumin/creatinine ratio; vascular damage by carotid intima-media thickness and ankle/brachial index; and cardiac damage by the Cornell voltage-duration product and left ventricular mass index.
There was a positive correlation between ambulatory, but not clinical, heart rate and its standard deviation with glomerular filtration rate, and a negative correlation with carotid intima-media thickness, and night/day ratio of systolic and diastolic blood pressure. There was no correlation with albumin/creatinine ratio, ankle/brachial index, Cornell voltage-duration product or left ventricular mass index. In the multiple linear regression analysis, after adjusting for age, the association of glomerular filtration rate and intima-media thickness with ambulatory heart rate and its standard deviation was lost. According to the logistic regression analysis, the predictors of any target organ damage were age (OR = 1.034 and 1.033) and night/day systolic blood pressure ratio (OR = 1.425 and 1.512). Neither 24 HR nor 24 HRV reached statistical significance.
High ambulatory heart rate and its variability, but not clinical HR, are associated with decreased carotid intima-media thickness and a higher glomerular filtration rate, although this is lost after adjusting for age.
Trial Registration NCT01325064
PMCID: PMC3326700  PMID: 22439900
Heart rate; Hypertension; Blood pressure monitoring; ambulatory; Carotid arteries; Hypertrophy; left ventricular; Kidney disease
2.  Improving interMediAte Risk management. MARK study 
Cardiovascular risk functions fail to identify more than 50% of patients who develop cardiovascular disease. This is especially evident in the intermediate-risk patients in which clinical management becomes difficult. Our purpose is to analyze if ankle-brachial index (ABI), measures of arterial stiffness, postprandial glucose, glycosylated hemoglobin, self-measured blood pressure and presence of comorbidity are independently associated to incidence of vascular events and whether they can improve the predictive capacity of current risk equations in the intermediate-risk population.
This project involves 3 groups belonging to REDIAPP (RETICS RD06/0018) from 3 Spanish regions. We will recruit a multicenter cohort of 2688 patients at intermediate risk (coronary risk between 5 and 15% or vascular death risk between 3-5% over 10 years) and no history of atherosclerotic disease, selected at random. We will record socio-demographic data, information on diet, physical activity, comorbidity and intermittent claudication. We will measure ABI, pulse wave velocity and cardio ankle vascular index at rest and after a light intensity exercise. Blood pressure and anthropometric data will be also recorded. We will also quantify lipids, glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin in a fasting blood sample and postprandial capillary glucose. Eighteen months after the recruitment, patients will be followed up to determine the incidence of vascular events (later follow-ups are planned at 5 and 10 years). We will analyze whether the new proposed risk factors contribute to improve the risk functions based on classic risk factors.
Primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases is a priority in public health policy of developed and developing countries. The fundamental strategy consists in identifying people in a high risk situation in which preventive measures are effective and efficient. Improvement of these predictions in our country will have an immediate, clinical and welfare impact and a short term public health effect.
Trial Registration
Clinical Identifier: NCT01428934
PMCID: PMC3207912  PMID: 21992621
Risk assessment; cardiovascular diseases; primary prevention; primary health care.
3.  Therapeutic implications of selecting the SCORE (European) versus the D'AGOSTINO (American) risk charts for cardiovascular risk assessment in hypertensive patients 
No comparisons have been made of scales estimating cardiovascular mortality and overall cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. The study objectives were to assess the agreement between the Framingham-D'Agostino cardiovascular risk (CVR) scale and the chart currently recommended in Europe (SCORE) with regard to identification of patients with high CVR, and to describe the discrepancies between them and the attendant implications for the treatment of hypertension and hyperlipidaemia.
A total of 474 hypertensive patients aged 40–65 years monitored in primary care were enrolled into the study. CVR was assessed using the Framingham-D'Agostino scale, which estimates the overall cardiovascular morbidity and mortality risk, and the SCORE chart, which estimates the cardiovascular mortality risk. Cardiovascular risk was considered to be high for values ≥ 20% and ≥ 5% according to the Framingham-D'Agostino and SCORE charts respectively. Kappa statistics was estimated for agreement in classification of patients with high CVR. The therapeutic recommendations in the 2007 European Guidelines on Cardiovascular Disease Prevention were followed.
Mean patient age was 54.1 (SD 7.3), and 58.4% were males. A high CVR was found in 17.5% using the SCORE chart (25.3% males, 6.6% females) and in 32.7% using the D'Agostino method (56.9% males, 12,7% females). Kappa coefficient was 0.52, and increased to 0.68 when the high CVR threshold was established at 29% according to D'Agostino. Hypertensive patients with high SCORE and non-high D'Agostino (1.7%) were characterized by an older age, diabetes, and a lower atherogenic index, while the opposite situation (16.9%) was associated to males, hyperlipidaemia, and a higher atherogenic index. Variables with a greater weight in discrepancies were sex and smoking. A 32.0% according to SCORE and 33.5% according to D'Agostino would be candidates to receive antihypertensive treatment, and 15.8% and 27.3% respectively to receive lipid-lowering treatment.
A moderate to high agreement was found. SCORE may underestimate risk in males with an unfavourable lipid profile, and D'Agostino in diabetics with a lower atherogenic risk. Use of the D'Agostino scale implies treating more patients with lipid-lowering and antihypertensive drugs as compared to SCORE.
PMCID: PMC2686672  PMID: 19432982

Results 1-3 (3)