Many studies found increased central arterial stiffness and poor endothelial function in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD). Acute exercise has been shown to decrease peripheral pulse wave velocity (pPWV) in young healthy volunteers. We hypothesized the response to acute exercise to be diminished in CAD patients compared to healthy young (HY) and age-matched (HAM) controls.
In 21 patients after recent myocardial infarction (CAD), 11 HAM and 10 HY pPWV was measured by applanation tonometry at the proximal femoral artery and the posterior tibial artery at rest and from 5 to 15 min after cessation of exhaustive exercise. Heart rate (HR) and blood pressure (BP) were monitored continuously. Resting central PWV (cPWV) was measured between the carotid and femoral arteries. Resting values and reponses to acute exercise were compared between the three groups and predictors for pPWV response were sought.
The response in pPWV to acute exercise seen in HY (lowering in pPWV by 17%) was absent in both CAD and HAM. Resting pPWV was not statistically different between the three groups, while cPWV was comparable in CAD and HAM but 17% lower in HY. Predictors for response in pPWV to exercise were age (Spearman r = 0.48), cPWV (r = 0.34) and response in diastolic BP (r = 0.32).
The response in pPWV to acute exercise observed in HY was absent in CAD and HAM. In dilated peripheral arteries, PWV may reflect stiffness of passive vessel structures, which are likely to increase with age in healthy persons and CAD alike.
NSTEMI with non-significant CAD may be a presenting or early marker of malignancy and warrants further investigation.