Large artery stiffening has adverse effects on cardiac structure and function and, therefore, may be associated with elevated circulating levels of amino-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP).
In a large community-dwelling older population (n = 6211, mean age 69.2 years), serum NT-proBNP, brachial pulse pressure (PP) and carotid–femoral pulse wave velocity (cfPWV) were measured.
In individuals without cardiovascular disease (CVD), median NT-proBNP was 6.7 pmol/l in men (n = 2073) and 10.1 pmol/l in women (n = 3085) (P < 0.001). In these individuals, indices of arterial stiffness correlated with NT-proBNP with beta-coefficients for brachial PP and cfPWV of 0.315 and 0.255 in men and 0.233 and 0.232 in women (all P < 0.001). After multivariable adjustment (age, weight, height, mean arterial pressure, heart rate, smoking, diabetes, estimated glomerular filtration rate, total and high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol and use of lipid-lowering and antihypertensive medication), these associations remained significant for brachial PP and cfPWV in men and for brachial PP in women. In multivariable-adjusted models, brachial PP explained 20.3% and cfPWV 10.7% of the variation of NT-proBNP in men and, respectively, 10.8 and 9.4% in women. In patients with prevalent CVD, indices of arterial stiffness and NT-proBNP were unrelated in multivariable-adjusted models.
Our findings show that arterial stiffness is independently associated with elevated NT-proBNP levels in individuals without prevalent CVD. The association between vascular stiffness and NT-proBNP is stronger in men than in women and absent in individuals with prevalent CVD.