Journal article

The Effect of Valsartan versus Non-RAAS Treatment on Autoregulation of Cerebral Blood Flow

Background: Cerebral autoregulation (CA) is a protective mechanism which maintains the steadiness of the cerebral blood flow (CBF) through a broad range of systemic blood pressure (BP). Acute hypertension has been shown to reduce the cerebrovascular adaptation to BP variations. However, it is still unknown whether CA is impaired in chronic hypertension. This study evaluated whether a strict control of BP affects the CA in patients with chronic hypertension, and compared a valsartan-based regimen to a regimen not inhibiting the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (non-RAAS). Methods: Eighty untreated patients with isolated systolic hypertension were randomized to valsartan 320 mg or to a non-RAAS regimen during 6 months. The medication was upgraded to obtain BP <140/90 mm Hg. Continuous recordings of arterial BP and CBF velocity (transcranial Doppler) were performed during periods of 5 minutes, at rest, and at different levels of alveolar CO2 pressure provided by respiratory maneuvers. The dominant frequency of CBF oscillations was determined for each patient. Dynamic CA was measured as the mean phase shift between BP and CBF by cross-spectral analysis in the medium frequency and in the dominant CBF frequency. Results: Mean ambulatory 24-hour BP fell from 144/87 to 127/79 mm Hg in the valsartan group and from 144/87 to 134/81 mm Hg in the non-RAAS group (p = 0.13). Both groups had a similar reduction in the central BP and in the carotido-femoral pulse wave velocity. The average phase shift between BP fluctuations and CBF response at rest was normal at randomization (1.82 +/- 0.08 s), which is considered a preserved autoregulation and increased to 1.91 +/- 0.12 s at the end of study (p = 0.45). The comparison of both treatments showed no significant difference (-0.01 +/- 0.17 s vs. 0.16 +/- 0.16 s, p = 0.45) for valsartan versus non-RAAS groups. The plasmatic level of glycosylated hemoglobin decreased in the valsartan arm compared to the non-RAAS arm (-0.23 +/- 0.06 vs. -0.08 +/- 0.07%, p = 0.07). Conclusions: In elderly hypertensive men with isolated chronic systolic hypertension, CA seems efficient at baseline and is not significantly affected by 6 months of BP-lowering treatment. This suggests that the preventive effects of BP medication against stroke are not mediated through a restoration of the CA. Copyright (C) 2012 S. Karger AG, Basel


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