A pathological connection between the heart and kidney is well recognized as a cardiorenal syndrome, but the underlying mechanism remains undetermined. We hypothesized that this connection is attributable to central haemodynamic alterations.
In 386 patients with hypertension, the radial, carotid and femoral pressure waveforms were recorded with applanation tonometry to estimate the aortic pressure and pulse wave velocity (PWV). The plasma B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) concentration and urinary albumin/creatinine ratio (UACR), cardiac and renal damage biomarkers, respectively, were also measured for each patient.
The BNP was correlated positively with UACR, aortic pulse pressure and PWV, but inversely with the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR, P < 0.001). The aortic pulse pressure tended to more closely correlate with BNP than the brachial pulse pressure. The presence of (micro)albuminuria (UACR ≥30 mg/g) was associated with BNP elevation (≥50 pg/ml) independently of age, BMI, mean arterial pressure, eGFR and β-blocker treatment (odds ratio: 2.41; P = 0.04). However, further adjustment for the aortic pulse pressure or PWV rendered this albuminuria–BNP relationship insignificant (P = 0.25) and, instead, the aortic pulse pressure emerged as the strongest determinant of BNP elevation (odds ratio: 1.51 per 10mmHg; P = 0.001). Differently from albuminuria, lower eGFR was consistently related to higher plasma BNP, even after controlling for the aortic pressure and PWV.
Concomitant plasma BNP elevation with (micro)albuminuria can be explained by increases in aortic pulse pressure and PWV. This finding suggests that the altered central haemodynamics causes simultaneous damage/dysfunction in the heart and kidney, which could then contribute to cardiorenal syndrome in hypertension.