Aim: To compare the intra-familial aggregation and heritability of central (aortic) (PPc) versus peripheral (brachial) (PPp) pulse pressure after imputing pretreatment blood pressures (BPs) in treated participants in a community of black African ancestry.
Methods: Central PPc [generalized transfer function (GTF) and radial P2-derived] was determined with applanation tonometry at the radial artery (SphygmoCor software) in 946 participants from 258 families with 23 families including three generations from an urban developing community of black Africans. In the 24.1% of participants receiving antihypertensive treatment, pretreatment brachial BP was imputed from published overall averaged effects of therapy grouped by class and dose, specific for groups of black African descent. From these data PPc was estimated from proportionate differences in central aortic and brachial PP. Heritability estimates were determined from SAGE software. Echocardiography was evaluated in 507 participants in order to determine stroke volume.
Results: With adjustments for confounders, parent–child (P < 0.05) and sibling–sibling (P < 0.0005) correlations were noted for log PPc, whilst for log PPp only sibling–sibling correlations were noted. No mother–father correlations were noted for either PPc or PPp. Independent of confounders the heritability for log GTF-derived (h2 = 0.33 ± 0.07, P < 0.0001) and P2-derived (h2 = 0.30 ± 0.07, P < 0.0001) PPc was greater than the heritability for log PPp (h2 = 0.11 ± 0.06, P < 0.05) (P < 0.05 for comparison of heritability estimates).
Conclusion: After imputing pretreatment BP values, central aortic PP is significantly more inherited than brachial PP. These data suggest that in groups of African descent the genetic determinants of PP may be underestimated when employing brachial rather than central aortic PP measurements.