CCC 2013: Impacts of Arterial Stiffness

October 1, 2013

In a Canadian Cardiovascular Society featured program item, cardiologist Thais Coutinho, MD, a recent Heart Institute recruit from the Mayo Clinic, presented interesting findings on arterial stiffness and hypertension. Globally, hypertension is the leading risk factor for death, yet only about half of individuals with high blood pressure have it properly controlled. The condition affects 6 million Canadians and hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Dr. Coutinho found that arterial stiffness is independently associated with increasing blood pressure in patients who are under treatment. This marks a potential new target for the development of drug therapies.

In another presentation, Dr. Coutinho looked at sex differences in the impact of various measures of blood pressure. Enlargement of the heart and other changes to its size and shape, known as cardiac remodelling, indicate declining heart function. Dr. Coutinho and her colleague found that arterial stiffness and certain measures of blood pressure in the arteries are associated with cardiac remodelling in women but not in men.