The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of anatomical variation of the brachial artery on flow-mediated vasodilation (FMD) in healthy subjects and patients with cardiovascular disease (CVD). There was no significant difference in the prevalence of double brachial artery between healthy subjects (6.1%) and patients with CVD (6.5%). In healthy subjects, FMD was larger in a single brachial artery than in large and small vessels of a double brachial artery (7.2±3.4% vs. 4.7±3.3% and 4.5±2.5%, P<0.01, respectively). In patients with CVD, there were no significant differences in FMD among a single brachial artery, large vessel of a double brachial artery and small vessel of a double brachial artery (3.3±1.4%, 3.1±2.3% and 3.6±2.1%). FMD in a single brachial artery was smaller in patients with CVD than in healthy subjects. There were no significant differences in FMD in the large vessel of a double brachial artery between the 2 groups or in the small vessel of a double brachial artery between the 2 groups. Nitroglycerine-induced vasodilation was similar in all arteries in healthy subjects and patients with CVD. When measuring FMD, the existence of a double brachial artery should be checked. FMD measured in a double brachial artery may be underestimated in healthy subjects.
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