Vascular reactivity in young adults and cardiovascular disease

Josef Coresh, Michael J. Klag, Lucy A. Mead, Kung Yee Liang, Paul K. Whelton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Cardiovascular reactivity in response to the cold pressor test has been associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease in middle-aged men. We studied 905 white male medical students, median age 22 years, in the Johns Hopkins Precursors Study. Systolic blood pressure, systolic blood pressure change during the cold pressor test, smoking, cholesterol, Quetelet index, and family history of coronary heart disease were measured on enrollment during 1948–1964. Incidence of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality was ascertained by annual questionnaires and death certificates. There was no association between change in systolic blood pressure during the cold pressor test, whether examined as a continuous variable or a 20 mm Hg or more rise, and the risk of subsequent cardiovascular disease or coronary heart disease. These findings did not change after adjustment for cardiovascular disease risk factors. Previously reported associations may have been due to preexisting arteriosclerosis, which increases the rise in systolic blood pressure during the cold pressor test. We conclude that cardiovascular reactivity to the cold pressor test in young adulthood is not a strong predictor of future cardiovascular disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)II-218-II-223
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1992


  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Cardiovascular reactivity
  • Cold pressor test
  • Epidemiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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