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Biology
Completed Project

Digital Peripheral Arterial Tonometry Measures and Cardiovascular Disease Events

Joonghoon Auh ’20, Adam Stefek ’20, and Professor Leroy L. Cooper

Digital peripheral arterial tonometry (PAT) is a noninvasive technique that assesses microvascular function in the finger following reactive hyperemia. Past studies found significant relations between PAT measures and several cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors.  Digital microvascular function was assessed on a subset of Jackson Heart Study participants without prevalent CVD (N=643; mean age 60±11 years; 63% female) using a point-of-care device placed on the index finger of each hand. Baseline pulse amplitude was measured from each fingertip for ≥2 min. Blood flow to one arm was occluded via an inflatable cuff for 5 minutes. PAT ratio was defined as the post-to-pre occlusion PAT signal ratio in the occluded arm, relative to the same ratio in the control arm not experiencing hyperemia. We assessed the associations between baseline pulse amplitude and PAT ratio and incident CVD events using multivariable Cox proportional hazards models. During the follow-up period (median 7.2 years), 70 participants (11%) had an incident CVD event. Adjusting for standard risk factors, neither baseline pulse amplitude (hazard ratio [HR]=1.28; 95% confidence interval [CI]=0.966-1.696; P=0.086) nor PAT ratio (HR=1.43; 95% CI=0.794-2.606; P=0.23) were significantly associated with incident CVD. Further studies are needed to assess the predictive relations between PAT measures and CVD events, particularly in larger populations with longer follow-up time and among populations with greater CVD risk.