To Be Presented At ACC Meeting: Emory Study Links Inflammation Marker
to Wider Pulse Pressure -- A Heart Disease Risk Factor
your blood pressure isn't too high or too low may seem to be all the
information you need about the subject. However, researchers have established
that a blood pressure measurement called the pulse pressure (PP) --
the difference between the diastolic and systolic pressures -- can reveal
additional information about your heart health. A wide pulse pressure
(PP) has been recognized in recent years as risk factor for heart disease.
But how and why is a wider PP directly related to heart disease? New
research linking a marker of inflammation in the body to wider pulse
pressures may hold the key.
That study, which was recently
published in the medical journal Hypertension, will be discussed by
Emory cardiology researcher Jerome L. Abramson, Ph.D., at an American
College of Cardiology (ACC) meeting poster session on Monday, March
18th, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the Georgia World Congress Center (hall
The Emory research team,
which includes Dr. Abramson, a postdoctoral fellow in Emory's Division
of Cardiology; cardiologist William S. Weintraub, M.D., Director of
Emory's Outcome Research Center (ECOR) and Viola Vaccarino, M.D., Ph.D.,
of Emory University School of Medicine's Division of Cardiology, found
that increased levels of PP are significantly associated with an elevated
blood level of a substance known as C-reactive protein (CRP). CRP is
a non-specific marker of inflammation -- so the research suggests that
low-grade inflammation may be involved in the link between elevated
pulse pressure and higher cardiovascular risk."
"There is evidence indicating
that a higher PP is positively associated with wear and tear of the
artery wall as well as adhesion of mononuclear cells. So when you have
an elevated PP, that may lead to an inflammatory response which, in
turn, might facilitate the initiation or progression of atherosclerosis
and higher cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk," says Dr. Abramson. "To
the best of our knowledge, we believe our study is the first to demonstrate
an independent association between pulse pressure and CRP in a representative
sample of healthy U.S. adults."
The researchers studied the
relationship between PP and CRP among 9,867 apparently healthy U.S.
adults who participated in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination
Survey (NHANES III). They documented that a 10 mm Hg increase in PP
was associated with a significant 12 percent increase in the odds of
having an elevated CRP levels.
The Emory scientists say
more study is needed to find out the exact role both inflammation and
PP play in heart disease. "However, it is well-established now that
PP is a risk factor for heart disease and physicians should be measuring
it in assessing patients' risk, especially among older patients, " says