Objective: The epidemiology of pre-eclampsia suggests a constitutional component for the disorder. We have recently shown an association for blood pressure (BP) with stiffness of joints and skin in adolescents, suggesting that constitutionally determined stiffness of body tissues is associated with blood pressure. Therefore, we compared stiffness of the arterial wall, joints and skin between women with a history of pre-eclampsia and women with an uncomplicated pregnancy.
Design: Cases were 44 women with a history of early onset pre-eclampsia and controls were 46 women with a history of uncomplicated pregnancy. Arterial stiffness was determined non-invasively with pulse wave velocity measurement. As a measure of capsule and ligament stiffness, the active range of motion of various joints was measured. Skin stiffness was measured using a tissue compliance meter. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) multiple comparison tests were used for comparison of the study groups. Linear regression models were used to determine the associations between stiffness parameters and possible confounders.
Results: For the cases, body mass index (BMI) was significantly higher and age and parity were significantly lower. BP was significantly higher for the cases. Stiffness of the arterial wall, joints and skin were significantly higher. After adjustment for mean arterial pressure, stiffness of the joints and skin were significantly higher, but no difference remained for arterial stiffness.
Conclusions: Women with a history of pre-eclampsia had a significantly higher stiffness of the arterial wall, joints and skin compared with controls. This suggests a constitutionally determined stiffness of connective tissues in former pre-eclamptic cases.
- Arterial stiffness
- Joint motion
- Skin extensibility