Relationship between arterial distensibility and coronary atherosclerosis in angina patients

Cristina Giannattasio, Anna Capra, Rita Facchetti, Luigina Viscardi, Francesca Bianchi, Monica Failla, Virgilio Colombo, Antonio Grieco, Giuseppe Mancia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: Arterial stiffening is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. However, limited evidence exists on whether it also relates to subclinical atherosclerosis, thereby providing a non-invasive marker of the overall cardiovascular status. The aim of the present study was to provide information on arterial stiffening in angina patients in whom angiographic evaluation allowed quantification of coronary atherosclerosis. METHODS: We studied 101 patients with angina from a large number admitted to our hospital for coronary angiography. In each patient, radial (RA), subdiaphragmatic aorta (AO) and carotid (CA) distensibility (Dist) were measured by an ultrasonic device, following ultrasonic exclusion of atherosclerotic lesions at these specific sites. Patients were classified into three groups according to the angiographic findings: (i) no significant coronary lesions (lumen obstruction <50%, group A); (ii) one (group B); and (iii) two or three (group C) coronary vessels with hemodynamic significant plaques (lumen obstruction > 50%). RESULTS: Age, male prevalence, previous cardiovascular disease and interventions were progressively greater or more common from group A to C, whereas several other risk factors (plasma glucose, serum cholesterol, smoking, history of hypertension, etc.) did not differ between the three groups or between the group with single vessel (B) versus the group with multivessel disease (C). CA and AO Dist decreased progressively from group A to C with a significant relationship in the group as a whole between distensibility values and the number of diseased vessels. The progressive decrease in AO Dist from group A to C remained significant after adjustment for variables that showed between-group differences (such as gender, age and systolic blood pressure) and the ROC curve showed it to be a more sensitive and specific marker of coronary atherosclerosis than CA Dist. RA Dist was similar in the three groups and showed no relationship with the number of diseased vessels in the group as a whole. CONCLUSION: In patients with angina, AO and CA Dist are related to the severity of coronary atherosclerosis, with the relationship being better for alterations in aortic than in carotid mechanical properties. Large elastic artery (and in particular aortic) stiffening can thus be considered as a marker of the severity of coronary atherosclerosis, providing non-invasive obtainable information on the need to proceed with further clinical examinations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)593-598
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Hypertension
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2007


  • Angina
  • Arterial stiffness
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Blood pressure
  • Coronary artery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology


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