Older Adults With Higher Blood Pressure Variability Exhibit Cerebrovascular Reactivity Deficits

American journal of hypertension

Am J Hypertens. 2023 Jan 1;36(1):63-68. doi: 10.1093/ajh/hpac108.


BACKGROUND: Elevated blood pressure (BP) variability is predictive of increased risk for stroke, cerebrovascular disease, and other vascular brain injuries, independent of traditionally studied average BP levels. However, no studies to date have evaluated whether BP variability is related to diminished cerebrovascular reactivity, which may represent an early marker of cerebrovascular dysfunction presaging vascular brain injury.

METHODS: The present study investigated BP variability and cerebrovascular reactivity in a sample of 41 community-dwelling older adults (mean age 69.6 [SD 8.7] years) without a history of dementia or stroke. Short-term BP variability was determined from BP measurements collected continuously during a 5-minute resting period followed by cerebrovascular reactivity during 5-minute hypocapnia and hypercapnia challenge induced by visually guided breathing conditions. Cerebrovascular reactivity was quantified as percent change in cerebral perfusion by pseudo-continuous arterial spin labeling (pCASL)-MRI per unit change in end-tidal CO2.

RESULTS: Elevated systolic BP variability was related to lower whole brain cerebrovascular reactivity during hypocapnia (ß = -0.43 [95% CI -0.73, -0.12]; P = 0.008; adjusted R2 =.11) and hypercapnia (ß = -0.42 [95% CI -0.77, -0.06]; P = 0.02; adjusted R2 = 0.19).

CONCLUSIONS: Findings add to prior work linking BP variability and cerebrovascular disease burden and suggest BP variability may also be related to prodromal markers of cerebrovascular dysfunction and disease, with potential therapeutic implications.

PMID:36149821 | PMC:PMC9793985 | DOI:10.1093/ajh/hpac108