Background: Endothelial damage is one of the early signs of cardiovascular disorders. Assessing endothelial function in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) has shown evidence of cardiovascular disease in the absence of clinically evident disorder. Flow mediated dilation (FMD) and reactive hyperaemia peripheral arterial tonometry (RH-PAT) are the frequently used non-invasive techniques for assessing endothelial function. Both the techniques have been used to assess endothelial function in PCOS patients. However there is limited data on the two techniques being used simultaneously in the same individual and recent research suggests the underlying physiological mechanisms may differ as the two techniques look at different set of vessels.
Methods: FMD and RH-PAT were performed simultaneously on thirty apparently healthy normotensive women (15 PCOS and 15 controls, with a mean age of 31.5±7.5 and 32±7.8 years respectively), who underwent 5 min of suprasystolic cuff-induced ischemia followed by post-ischemic measurements.
Results: There were no differences in endothelial function measurements between PCOS and control groups for either FMD (6.9±3.1% vs 5.7±3.1% (P value=0.14) and reactive hyperaemic index (RHI) (2.0±0.7 vs 2.2±0.7 (P value=0.51) respectively). There was also no association between FMD and RHI (r=0.326, P value=0.079).
Conclusion: The endothelial function assessed by the two techniques FMD and RH-PAT does not differ in PCOS. Both the techniques have been shown to correlate well with coronary endothelial function and can be used alternatively in PCOS. RH-PAT is advantageous as it is easy to set-up, is non-user dependent and can be used to identify individuals at risk of developing cardiovascular disease at an early stage.