1. Simultaneous brachial artery pressure and blood flow measurements were made in 21 men, including six normal subjects and 15 patients with essential hypertension of the same age and diastolic pressure at the time of investigation.
2. Blood flow was evaluated by means of a pulsed Doppler device with a double transducer probe, enabling a precise evaluation of the calibre of the brachial artery. From analysis of the pressure-flow curves during diastole, forearm arterial compliance was estimated by using an original first-order model of the forearm arterial system.
3. Forearm arterial compliance was significantly decreased in hypertensive subjects.
4. Since patients and hypertensive subjects had similar blood pressures, the results indicate that the reduced forearm compliance was independent of blood pressure per se but may reflect in hypertensive subjects adaptive changes in the walls of peripheral large arteries.