Effects of Antihypertensive Agents on Local Arterial Distensibility and Compliance
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Abstract Distensibility and compliance are important vessel wall properties. Distensibility is related to elastic properties of the arterial wall, and compliance reflects the buffering function of the artery. Distensibility is a determinant of stress on the vessel wall. A decreased distensibility might increase the risk of arterial wall damage. Therefore, a preserved local distensibility might be important in protecting the arterial wall of each particular artery and especially of those arteries that are more susceptible to vascular disease. Local distensibility and compliance of various large arteries can be measured noninvasively with echo tracking techniques. Studies on local distensibility and compliance revealed that with the calcium antagonist verapamil and the angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor perindopril arterial compliance increased mainly because of an increase in distensibility, with only a minor effect on arterial diameter. In contrast, the nitrate compound isosorbide dinitrate increased compliance mainly by increasing arterial diameter, without an increase in distensibility. This indicates that an increase in arterial compliance does not automatically imply an increase in arterial distensibility. The effect of antihypertensive drugs may also depend on the vascular territory. The diuretic amiloride/hydrochlorothiazide increased brachial artery compliance but not common carotid artery compliance. During angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibition the effect on arterial compliance was smaller at the carotid than the femoral artery. However, the opposite held for the nitrate compound. These distinctive effects of antihypertensive drugs on arterial distensibility and compliance and on vascular territories may be relevant to pharmacological prevention and management of arterial disease.