Arterial Hypertension and Cardiopulmonary Function: The Value of a Combined Cardiopulmonary and Echocardiography Stress Test.

Del Punta L; De Biase N; Balletti A;Filidei F; Pieroni A; Armenia S; Mengozzi A; Mazzola M; Di Fiore V; Dini FL; Rosada J; Virdis A; Taddei S;Pugliese NR; Masi S;

High blood pressure & cardiovascular prevention : the official journal of the Italian Society of Hypertension [High Blood Press Cardiovasc Prev] 2022 Feb 02.
Date of Electronic Publication: 2022 Feb 02.

Arterial hypertension (AH) is a global burden and the leading risk factor for mortality worldwide. Haemodynamic abnormalities, longstanding neurohormonal and inflammatory activation, which are commonly observed in patients with AH, promote cardiac structural remodeling ultimately leading to heart failure (HF) if blood pressure values remain uncontrolled. While several epidemiological studies have confirmed the strong link between AH and HF, the pathophysiological processes underlying this transition remain largely unclear. The combined cardiopulmonary-echocardiography stress test (CPET-ESE) represents a precious non-invasive aid to detect alterations in patients at the earliest stages of HF. The opportunity to study the response of the cardiovascular system to exercise, and to differentiate central from peripheral cardiovascular maladaptations, makes the CPET-ESE an ideal technique to gain insights into the mechanisms involved in the transition from AH to HF, by recognizing alterations that might be silent at rest but influence the response to exercise. Identifications of these subclinical alterations might allow for a better risk stratification in hypertensive patients, facilitating the recognition of those at higher risk of evolution towards established HF. This may also lead to the development of novel preventive strategies and help tailor medical treatment. The purpose of this review is to summarise the potential advantages of using CPET-ESE in the characterisation of hypertensive patients in the cardiovascular continuum.