Brachial artery retrograde flow increases with age: relationship to physical function
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The purpose of this study was to examine the flow velocity pattern of the brachial artery and to determine its relationship to measures of physical function. Subjects from the Louisiana Healthy Aging Study (n = 95; age = 84 ± 10 years) were evaluated. Brachial artery flow velocities and dimensions were measured using high-resolution ultrasonography. The continuous scale of physical function and performance test (CS-PFP10) was used to assess physical function. This test is based on the performance of 11 activities of daily living. Total CS-PFP10 score was 39.51 ± 21.21 U. Mean antegrade and retrograde velocities at rest were 14.2 ± 4.7 and 3.6 ± 2.2 cm/s, respectively. Ante-/retrograde ratio was 5.5 ± 4.6. Brachial artery diameter was 4.3 ± 0.7 mm. Pulse pressure and vascular conductance were 66 ± 18 mmHg, and 0.9 ± 0.5 ml/min/mmHg, respectively. Vascular conductance (r = −0.34), ante-/retrograde ratio (r = −0.42) and CS-PFP10 (r = −0.65) were inversely and retrograde velocity (r = 0.40) and pulse pressure (r = 0.36), were directly associated with age. Retrograde velocity was inversely related to vascular conductance (r = −0.27) and CS-PFP10 total score (r = −0.45). A MANOVA revealed that those with the higher CS-PFP10 scores had a lower retrograde velocity (P = 0.0001), but this association was, in part, age-dependent. Among nonagenarians (n = 52), those in the lower tertiles of the CS-PFP10 scores had significantly higher retrograde velocities compared to those in the higher tertiles (P = 0.035). These data indicate an increase in brachial retrograde velocity with age. These hemodynamic changes are related to a decline in physical function.