, Volume 27, Issue 12, pp 1517-1522
Date: 25 Jul 2008

The impact of systemic sclerosis on arterial wall stiffness parameters and endothelial function

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Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is characterized by thickening and fibrosis of skin and internal organs that is associated with vascular damage. SSc may lead to arterial dysfunction and premature aging of the arteries. However, its relationship with parameters of arterial wall dysfunction has not been fully explored. To determine if carotid–radial pulse wave velocity (PWV), aortic augmentation index (AIx) and endothelial function are altered in SSc patients, 17 consecutive patients with SSc and 34 age- and gender-matched controls were included in our study. PWV and AIx were assessed non-invasively by applanation tonometry. The endothelium-dependent flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) test in a brachial artery was performed by the ultrasound system. The blood investigations included serum lipid profile, glucose, and high-sensitivity CRP (hsCRP) measurements. As compared to controls, SSc patients had significantly higher medians of the AIx (p = 0.002) and the PWV (p = 0.04) and the median of the FMD was significantly lower (p = 0.001). Stepwise linear regression including comorbid factors showed that SSc was a significant independent predictor of all arterial wall parameters measures. SSc patients have increased AIx and PWV and lower FMD as compared to control subjects. The relationship between SSc and measures of arterial wall parameters still remains unclear. Though replication of the results presented here is required, we conclude that SSc has a great impact on large and conduit arteries damage.