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Structural changes in small resistance arteries and left ventricular geometry in patients with primary and secondary hypertension

Muiesan, Maria Lorenzaa; Rizzoni, Damianoa; Salvetti, Massimoa; Porteri, Enzoa; Monteduro, Cristinaa; Guelfi, Danielea; Castellano, Maurizioa; Garavelli, Guidob; Agabiti-Rosei, Enricoa

Original papers: Heart

Objective  To prospectively evaluate the interrelationships between left ventricular (LV) geometry and structural characteristics of the vessel wall in small resistance arteries in patients with consecutive primary and secondary hypertension.

Methods  In 14 patients with phaeochromocytoma, 12 with primary aldosteronism, 25 with renovascular, 25 with essential hypertension and 12 normotensive controls, an echocardiographic study for the measurement of LV mass index and relative wall thickness (RWT) was performed. Morphological characteristics of small resistance arteries (relaxed diameter < 300 μm) were directly evaluated by a micromyographic technique.

Results  A total of 25 patients had normal LV mass and geometry, 28 patients had normal RWT (< 0.45) and 23 patients had a RWT 0.45; all normotensive subjects had normal LV mass and geometry. Media to lumen ratio (M/L) in subcutaneous small arteries was greater in hypertensive patients with concentric LV hypertrophy in respect to normotensives (ANOVA P = 0.01) and hypertensives with normal LV geometry (ANOVA P = 0.05). In the whole group of hypertensive patients the correlation coefficient between M/L and LV mass index was 0.33 (P < 0.05); the correlation coefficient between M/L and RWT was 0.46 (P < 0.01) and it was higher in primary aldosteronism (r = 0.67) and renovascular hypertension patients (r = 0.46).

Conclusions  A close relation between morphology of subcutaneous small resistance arteries and LV geometric patterns may be observed in hypertensive patients; this relationship is more evident when the renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system is activated.

aDepartment of Medical and Surgical Sciences, University of Brescia and bDivisione di Medicina, Ospedale di Cremona, Italy.

Correspondence and requests for reprints to Maria Lorenza Muiesan, Dept of Medical and Surgical Sciences, University of Brescia, c/o 2a Medicina, Spedali Civili, 25100 Brescia, Italy. Tel: +39 30 3995 248; fax: +39 30 3384348; e-mail

Received 30 August 2001

Revised 31 January 2002

Accepted 4 March 2002

See editorial commentary page 1295

© 2002 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.