Relation of Blood Pressure Variability to Carotid Atherosclerosis and Carotid Artery and Left Ventricular Hypertrophy
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The relationship of blood pressure (BP) variability to cardiovascular target-organ damage is controversial. Studies examining BP variability and left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy have been contradictory, and only limited data on the relation of BP variability to carotid atherosclerosis and carotid artery hypertrophy exist. BP variability was assessed as the standard deviation and coefficient of variation of awake and asleep pressures in 511 normotensive or untreated hypertensive subjects who underwent ambulatory BP monitoring and cardiac and carotid ultrasonography. Although the presence of focal carotid plaque was associated with an increase in ambulatory pressures and pressure variability, the differences in variability were eliminated by adjustment for age and absolute pressures. Similarly, LV mass was significantly related to BP variability, but the significance of this finding was eliminated after adjustment for important covariates. In multivariate analyses, age was the primary determinant of carotid artery cross-sectional area, with a weak but independent contribution from awake systolic and diastolic BP variability in addition to absolute pressure. BP variability was not independently related to either carotid or LV relative wall thickness, both measures of concentric remodeling. In the present study, awake BP variability was weakly but independently associated with carotid artery cross-sectional area, a measure of arterial hypertrophy. However, neither systolic nor diastolic BP variability was independently associated with carotid atherosclerotic plaque or LV mass.