Exaggerated exercise blood pressure is related to impaired endothelial vasodilator function

Kerry J. Stewart, Jidong Sung, Harry A. Silber, Jerome L. Fleg, Mark D. Kelemen, Katherine L. Turner, Anita C. Bacher, Devon A. Dobrosielski, James R. DeRegis, Edward P. Shapiro, Pamela Ouyang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background Persons with high normal blood pressure (BP) or mild hypertension who also have an exaggerated BP response to exercise are at risk for worsening hypertension. The mechanisms that explain this relationship are unknown. We examined the relationships of endothelial vasodilator function and of aortic stiffness with exercise BP. Methods Subjects were 38 men and 44 women, aged 55 to 75 years, with untreated high normal BP or mild hypertension but otherwise healthy. Exercise was performed on a treadmill. Endothelial vasodilator function was assessed as brachial artery flow-mediated vasodilation (FMD) during reactive hyperemia. Aortic stiffness was measured as pulse wave velocity (PWV). Results Among men, resting systolic BP explained 34% of the variance (P < .01) in maximal exercise systolic BP and FMD explained an additional 11% (P < .01); resting systolic BP explained 23% of the variance in maximal pulse pressure (PP) (P < .01), and FMD explained an additional 10% (P < .01). Among women, resting systolic BP was the only independent correlate of maximal systolic BP (R2 = 0.12, P < .03) and FMD correlated negatively with maximal PP (R2 = 0.12, P < .03). Among men, FMD was the only independent correlate of the difference between resting and maximal systolic BP (R2 = 0.20, P < .02). The FMD was the only independent correlate of the difference between resting and maximal PP among men (R2 = 0.17, P < .03) and among women (R2 = 0.12, P < .03). The PWV did not correlate with exercise BP responses. Conclusions These results suggest that impaired endothelial vasodilator function may be a mechanism contributing to exercise hypertension and may also be one link between exaggerated exercise BP and worsening hypertension.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)314-320
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Hypertension
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2004



  • Aortic stiffness
  • Blood pressure
  • Endothelium
  • Exercise
  • Hypertension
  • Pulse pressure
  • Stress test

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine

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