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International Angiology 2005 March;24(1):52-8


language: English

Relationship between endothelial dysfunction, intima media thickness and cardiovascular risk factors in asymptomatic subjects

Corrado E. 1, Muratori I. 2, Tantillo R. 1, Contorno F. 1, Coppola G. 1, Strano A. 3, Novo S. 1

1 Unit of Cardiovascular Diseases, Division of Cardiology, Post-graduate School of Cardiology, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy 2 Department of Internal Medicine and Cardiovascular Diseases, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy 3 Center for the Study of Atherosclerosis and Dismetabolic Diseases, University of Rome TorVergata, Rome, Italy


Aim. The aim of the study was to evaluate endothelial function and intima media thickness (IMT) in relation to cardiovascular risk factors (RF).
Methods. We enrolled 113 patients, mean age 62±12 years; patients underwent: anamnesis, physical examination, measurement of body weight and height and blood pressure. Biochemistry variables were also measured: total cholesterol, high- and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C and LDL-C), triglycerides and glycemia. Vascular echography was performed to analyze flow mediated vasodilatation (FMD) at the brachial artery and IMT of the carotid and femoral arteries.
Results. Compared with patients without RF, patients with cardiovascular RF showed an impaired FMD (p<0.05) and higher values of mean carotid IMT (p=0.03). Age (p<0.005) and diabetes (p<0.05) were directly correlated with carotid IMT, while femoral IMT is correlated with age (p<0.005) and male gender (p<0.02). Regarding the relationship between endothelial function cardiovascular RF, we showed an inverse linear correlation between systolic blood pressure (p<0.005), smoking (p<0.05) and FMD, and concerning biochemical parameters, we founded that total cholesterol (p<0.05) and LDL-C plasma levels (p<0.005) were inversely correlated with FMD. Finally, we showed a lower FMD in patients with carotid and femoral IMT in comparison with patients without peripheral atherosclerosis (p=0.01).
Conclusion. The present data indicate that cardiovascular RF are associated with impaired endothelial function and increased IMT, and that the presence of carotid and femoral IMT is significantly correlated with endothelial dysfunction.

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