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A Journal on Heart and Vascular Diseases

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Angiology and Vascular Pathology
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Minerva Cardioangiologica 2002 February;50(1):9-14


language: Italian

A 2D Echo color-Doppler study of the extracranial carotid arteries in borderline arterial isolated systolic hypertension

Pellegrino L., Prencipe G., Ferrara V., Correra M., Pellegrino P. L.


Background. The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of atherosclerotic carotid lesions in isolated systolic borderline arterial hypertension by 2D echo color-Doppler and effect of night-time pressure fall by ambulatory blood pressure monitoring.
Methods. Outpatients from January 1992 to December 1998 were examined. One hundred and twenty normotensive control subjects and 99 isolated systolic borderline untreated hypertensives were studied, based on blood pressure fall were divided into dippers, with nocturnal systolic and/or diastolic blood pressure fall of >10%, and non dippers. Subjects with ischemic heart disease, valvulopathies, heart failure, renal insufficiency, cerebrovasculopathies, hypercholesterolemia (total cholesterol >200 mg/dl) and diabetes. Normotensives and hypertensives were homogeneus for cardiovascular risk factors. A thickness of >=0.95 mm, calculated as a mean of 5 measurements of the common carotid artery, 2-3 cm from the carotid bifurcation, was considered a sign of myointimal thickening, and the plaque as a focal thickening of >=2 mm, based on echogenic characteristics and site.
Results. Compared to normotensives, isolated systolic borderline hypertensives, showed carotid arteries with an intima-media thickening (p=0.002) with one or more plaques (p=0.0001) much more frequently, while normal carotid arteries (p=0.0001) were less frequent. In normotensives, like in hypertensives, the prevalence of vasal lesions was not significantly different in dippers compared with non dippers. Plaques were most often localized at level of the common carotid and lesions were hard.
Conclusions. The conclusions is drawn that isolated systolic hypertension is the sign of major vascular atherosclerotic lesions. The night-time pressure fall does not affect the importance of the lesions.

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