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Carotid Artery Elasticity and Baroreflex Sensitivity in Patients With Glaucoma

Visontai, Zsuzsanna MD, PhD*; Mersich, Beatrix MD; Holló, Gábor MD, PhD, DSci*

doi: 10.1097/01.ijg.0000145814.46848.76
Original Article

Purpose: To investigate non-invasively the elasticity of common carotid artery and the arterial baroreflex function in patients with chronic open-angle glaucoma.

Patients and Methods: Data were obtained from patients with chronic open-angle glaucoma (n = 16) [primary open angle- and juvenile open-angle glaucoma] and from age- and sex-matched healthy control subjects (n = 18). End diastolic diameter and pulsatile distension of the common carotid artery were measured with a high-precision, automated ultrasound wall-tracking system (WTS). Spontaneous fluctuation in cardiac interval and systolic pressure were used to determine baroreflex sensitivity.

Results: There was no difference in heart rate and pulse pressure between patients with glaucoma and the control subjects. In the glaucoma patients both distensibility coefficient of common carotid artery and baroreflex sensitivity were reduced (two-way factorial ANOVA; P < 0.002). Stiffness (characterizing the rigidity of vessel wall) was higher in the glaucoma patients than in the controls (P = 0.002).

Conclusions: Our results suggest that in patients with chronic open-angle glaucoma the arterial rigidity is significantly increased and therefore the baroreflex function is significantly decreased. These findings may have relevance in the understanding of the autonomic dysfunction and vascular dysregulation in glaucoma.

From the *1st Department of Ophthalmology and †Institute of Human Physiology and Clinical Experimental Research, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary.

Received for publication December 12, 2003; accepted May 27, 2004.

This work was supported by the Ministry of Welfare Grant ETT-011/2003 (Doctor Holló).

The authors have no financial interest in any instrument used in this article.

Reprints: Zsuzsanna Visontai, MD, PhD, 1st Department of Ophthalmology, Semmelweis University, Tömö ut 25-29, Budapest, 1083-Hungary (e-mail:

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.