Angiotensin II plays a key role in the development of vascular disease. We examined the long-term effects of selective angiotensin II receptor (ATR) blockade with valsartan on arterial wall stiffness. Brachial to ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV) was measured in 28 women and 25 men with hypertension (mean age: 62±2 years). The measurements were repeated after 24 weeks of treatment with valsartan, 40 to 160 mg/day, with (n=10) or without (n=36) concomitant statin therapy. By multiple regression analysis, baseline baPWV was correlated with age (p<0.001), systolic blood pressure (SBP, p<0.0001), body mass index (p=0.018), and pulse pressure (p=0.005), but not with total cholesterol (p=0.446). Valsartan lowered mean SBP and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) from 155±3 to 140±3 mmHg and from 90±2 to 82±2 mmHg, respectively, and mean baPWV from 1,853±49 to 1,682±52 cm/s. Lowering of baPWV was not influenced by statin therapy. An overlap analysis was performed to separate the effect of angiotensin II receptor blockade from that of blood pressure (BP) lowering. The decrease in the baPWV value of 1,794±46 cm/s before valsartan (n=39) vs. 1,663±45 cm/s during valsartan (p=0.048, n=31) at a similar mean SBP level (149±2 vs. 146±3 mmHg, p=0.304) confirmed that ATR blockade had a beneficial effect independent of BP lowering. SBP strongly influences baPWV. However, the decrease in baPWV with valsartan was independent of BP lowering. Statins had no synergistic effect on baPWV. Lowering of baPWV may account for the therapeutic benefit conferred by valsartan independent of its BP-lowering effect.
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Therapeutic Advances in Cardiovascular Disease (2019)
High Blood Pressure & Cardiovascular Prevention (2019)
Journal of Hypertension (2010)