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Predictors of Calf Arterial Compliance in Male Veterans With Psychiatric Diagnoses

Maju Mathew Koola, MD; John D. Sorkin, MD, PhD; Molly Fargotstein, BA; W. Virgil Brown, MD; Bruce Cuthbert, BA; Jeffrey Hollis, MD; Jeffrey K. Raines, MD, PhD; and Erica J. Duncan, MD

Published: June 9, 2016

Article Abstract

Background: Peripheral arterial compliance (PAC) is a measure of the ability of the vascular tree to dilate in response to a pressure wave. Reduced PAC is seen in patients with psychiatric diagnoses and has been associated with increased risk for stroke, myocardial infarction, and mortality. The objective of this pilot study was to identify predictors of reduced PAC in subjects with psychiatric diagnoses.

Methods: Male psychiatric subjects (N = 77) were studied in a cross-sectional study of medication effects on PAC conducted from August 2005 to February 2010. Calf and thigh compliance were modeled in separate linear regressions. The models were adjusted for age, race, smoking status, presence or absence of the metabolic syndrome, current treatment with a statin, diagnosis of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, current antipsychotic treatment, and body mass index (BMI).

Results: Of the 77 subjects (mean ± SD age of 53.7 ± 8.8 years), 41 were white, 36 were black, and 27 were diagnosed with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder (DSM-IV criteria). Fifty participants were being treated with an antipsychotic medication, while the remaining 27 were off of antipsychotics for at least 2 months. Our model explained 27% of the variance in calf compliance. Black subjects had reduced calf compliance compared to white subjects (P = .02). Having metabolic syndrome was associated with reduced PAC at a trend level (P < .08), and BMI (P = .004) and BMI2 (P = .011) were significant predictors of calf compliance. Schizophrenia versus other psychiatric diagnoses and antipsychotic treatment were not significantly associated with calf compliance.

Conclusions: In this pilot study, significant predictors of calf compliance were race (black vs white) and BMI. PAC is a noninvasive measure that may be a predictor of cardiovascular risk in psychiatric patients. The reduced PAC seen in patients with psychiatric diagnoses does not appear to be directly related to their diagnosis or antipsychotic treatment but rather to other characteristics inherent to the subject. Future studies are warranted to better understand the pathophysiology of PAC including but not limited to inflammation in psychiatric patients.

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