1. The ratio between ankle (ASP) and brachial (BSP) systolic pressures was studied using Doppler ultrasound in 66 male subjects, 33 with sustained uncomplicated essential hypertension and 33 age-matched normal controls.
2. Based on covariance analysis, the ASP–BSP relationship was significantly different in the two populations, the ASP/BSP ratio (mean ± sem) being significantly lower in hypertensive subjects (106 ± 1 vs 132 ± 2; P < 0.001).
3. While the ASP/BSP ratio was negatively correlated with age in normal subjects, no significant correlation was observed in hypertensive subjects.
4. The diameter of the terminal abdominal aorta measured by echography was significantly greater in hypertensive subjects, while full examination with Doppler ultrasound excluded any significant arterial stenosis of the lower limbs.
5. The study suggested that, in patients with sustained uncomplicated essential hypertension, the lower ASP/BSP ratio is related to changes in arterial wave transmission.