Journal 7, July 2003pages: 475-478
Background: Decreased elasticity of the aorta is associated with aging and several risk factors of atherosclerosis. The data regarding this phenomenon in patients with familial hypercholesterolemia are rather sparse.
Objectives: To evaluate non-invasively the elasticity of the proximal ascending aorta of 51 heterozygous FH patients compared to 42 normal age and gender-matched controls.
Methods: Aortic elasticity was estimated by transthoracic echocardiography using the “pressure-strain” elastic modulus and aortic strain formulas.
Results: The elastic modulus score was higher in the FH group than in the controls (1.12 ± 0.91 106 dynes/cm2 vs. 0.65 ± 0.46 106 dynes/cm2 respectively, P = 0.01). This was consistent in both the pediatric (0.5 ± 0.2 106 dynes/cm2 vs. 0.4 ± 0.1 106 dynes/cm2 respectively, P = 0.009) and adult subgroups (1.3 ± 1.0 106 dynes/cm2 vs. 0.8 ± 0.5 106 dynes/cm2 respectively, P = 0.0004). Aortic strain was significantly lower in patients with FH than in controls (6 ± 4% vs. 9 ± 5% respectively, P = 0.0002). These findings reflected decreased elasticity of the proximal ascending aorta in the FH patients. In multivariate analysis, age, serum cholesterol level and serum triglycerides level were the independent predictors of the elastic modulus score, whereas age was the predictor of aortic strain.
Conclusions: The elasticity of the proximal ascending aorta is decreased in heterozygous FH patients.
 FH = familial hypercholesterolemia