Purpose: The aim of the present study was to compare the predictive role of changes in arterial stiffness and LVMI for the incidence of coronary artery disease (CAD) in a cohort of essential hypertensive patients.
Methods: We followed up 1082 essential hypertensives (mean age 55.9 years, 562 males, office blood pressure (BP)=145/91 mmHg) free of cardiovascular disease for a mean period of 8 years. All subjects had at least one annual visit and at baseline and last visit underwent complete echocardiographic study for estimation of LVMI and measurements of arterial stiffness on the basis of carotid to femoral pulse wave velocity (PWV), by means of a computerized method. The distribution of PWV was split by the median (8.2 m/sec) and accordingly subjects were classified into those with high (n=546) and low values (n=536). Moreover, LV hypertrophy (LVH) was defined as LVMI =125 g/m2 in males and LVMI =110 g/m2 in females, while CAD was defined as the history of myocardial infarction or significant coronary artery stenosis revealed by angiography or coronary revascularization procedure.
Results: The incidence of CAD over the follow-up period was 3.5%. Hypertensives who developed CAD (n=38) compared to those without CAD at follow-up (n=1044) had at baseline higher waist circumference (101.7±10.1 vs 96.2±11.6 cm, p=0.004), LVMI (123.9±22.1 vs 105.8±21.3 g/m2, p=0.026), prevalence of LVH (46% vs 25%, p=0.018) and prevalence of high PWV levels (67% vs 40%, p=0.021). No difference was observed between hypertensives with CAD and those without CAD with respect to baseline office BP, serum creatinine and lipid levels (p=NS for all). By univariate Cox regression analysis, it was revealed that changes in PWV levels between baseline and last visit predicted CAD (hazard ratio=1.243, p=0.014). However, in multivariate Cox regression model baseline glomerular filtration rate (hazard ratio=1.029, p=0.015) and changes in LVMI (hazard ratio=1.036, p<0.0001) but not alterations of PWV turned out to be independent predictors of CAD.
Conclusions: In essential hypertensive patients changes in LVMI predict future development of CAD, whereas PWV alterations exhibit no independent prognostic value. These findings support that LVMI constitutes a superior prognosticator of events than PWV and its estimation is essential in order to improve overall risk stratification in hypertension.