Arron Peace, Anke Van Mil, Helen Jones and Dick H.J. Thijssen* Pages 254 - 263 ( 10 )
Background: Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) remains one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality. Strategies to predict development of CVD are therefore key in preventing and managing CVD. One stratergy in predicting CVD is by examining the role of traditional risk factors for CVD (e.g. age, sex, weight, blood pressure, blood lipids, blood glucose, smoking and physical activity). Although these measures are non-invasive and simple to perform, they provide limited information of CVD prediction. Directly examining functional characteristics of arteries that are involved in the pathophysiological changes that contribute to the development of CVD improve prediction of future CVD. Nevertheless, examining the function of arteries susceptible to atherosclortic changes, such as the coronary arteries, is invasive, expensive, and associated with high risk for complications. More accessible arteries can be used as a surrogate measure of coronary artery function. For example, the carotid artery may be a superior surrogate measure of coronary artery function given that, the carotid artery represents a central vessel that shows similarities in vasomotor function and anatomical structure with coronary arteries.
Conclusion: This review summarises the similarities between the carotid and coronary arteries, describes how both arteries respond to specific vasoactive stimuli, and discusses if the easily assessible carotid artery can provide information about vascular function (e.g. vasomotor reactivity to sympathetic stimulation) which is prognostic for future cardiovascular events. Finally, the impact of older age and lifestyle interventions (e.g. exercise training) on carotid artery function will be discussed.
Carotid artery, coronary artery endothelial function, atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, morbidity, mortality.
Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, Radboud Institute for Health Sciences, Department of Physiology, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool