Vascular Risk in Young Women With Polycystic Ovary and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Battaglia, Cesare MD, PhD; Mancini, Fulvia MD1; Cianciosi, Arianna MD1; Busacchi, Paolo MD1; Facchinetti, Fabio MD2; Marchesini, Giulio Reggiani MD3; Marzocchi, Rebecca MD3; de Aloysio, Domenico MD1

Obstetrics & Gynecology:
doi: 10.1097/01.AOG.0000296657.41236.10
Original Research

OBJECTIVE: To estimate if young polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) patients have subclinical risks of vascular disease compared with eumenorrheic polycystic ovary (PCO) women and healthy controls.

METHODS: Twenty-eight PCOS patients, 17 eumenorrheic PCO women, and 15 healthy eumenorrheic volunteers underwent medical examination; blood measurement of nitrites/nitrates, biochemical and hormonal parameters; uteroovarian ultrasonographic analysis and color Doppler evaluation of uterine, stromal ovarian, and ophthalmic arteries; brachial artery flow–mediated vasodilatation; 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring. An oral glucose tolerance test was performed to analyze glucose, insulin, and C-peptide.

RESULTS: Doppler analysis revealed a significantly higher uterine pulsatility index in the PCOS group compared with controls. The lowest vascular resistances in the ovaries were found in PCOS and PCO compared with controls. The ophthalmic artery back pressure was significantly higher in women with PCOS than in controls. The brachial artery diameter, at baseline, was similar in all the participants. After the reactive hyperemia, a greater vasodilatation was observed in controls and PCO patients in comparison with PCOS women. Total cholesterol, triglycerides, and the atherogenic plasma index were significantly higher in PCOS than PCO and controls. Leukocytes and homocysteine were slightly higher in PCOS. The nitrites/nitrates plasma levels were lower in PCOS and PCO patients compared with controls. The insulin and C-peptide plasma values were higher in PCOS patients than controls. In PCOS patients the different estimates of insulin sensitivity and pancreatic β-cell function were higher compared with PCO and controls.

CONCLUSION: Polycystic ovary syndrome is a condition associated with an increased vascular risk.


In Brief

Polycystic ovary syndrome is a condition associated with an increased vascular risk.

Author Information

From the Departments of 1Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Bologna, Bologna; 2Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Modena-Reggio Emilia, Modena; and 3Endocrinology, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.

Corresponding author: Cesare Battaglia, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Alma Mater Studiorum–University of Bologna, Via Massarenti, 13, 40138 Bologna, Italy; email:

Financial Disclosure The authors have no potential conflicts of interest to disclose.

© 2008 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists