The J-shaped relation between diastolic blood pressure and mortality from coronary heart disease continues to provoke controversy. We examined the association between diastolic blood pressure and progression of aortic atherosclerosis in a population-based cohort of 855 women, aged 45-64 years at baseline. The women were examined radiographically for calcified deposits in the abdominal aorta, which have been shown to reflect intimal atherosclerosis. After 9 years of follow-up, slight progression of atherosclerosis was noted in 19% of women and substantial progression in 16%. The age-adjusted relative risk of substantial atherosclerotic progression in women with a decrease in diastolic pressure of 10 mm Hg or more was 2·5 (95% CI 1·3-5·6), compared with the reference group of women who had a smaller decrease or no change. The excess risk in this group was confined to women whose increase in pulse pressure was above the median (3·9 [1·5-9·9] vs 1·1 [0 3-4·2] in women with an increase in pulse pressure below the median). The relative risks for women with rises in diastolic pressure of 1-9 mm Hg and 10 mm Hg or more were 2·2 (1 1-4 3) and 3·5 (1 6-8 0), respectively. These findings suggest that a decline in diastolic blood pressure indicates vessel wall stiffening associated with atherosclerotic progression. They support the hypothesis that in low-risk subjects progression of atherosclerosis may be accompanied by a decrease in diastolic blood pressure rather than the opposing idea that low diastolic blood pressure precipitates the occurrence of atherosclerotic events.,
The Lancet
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Witteman, J., Grobbee, D., Valkenburg, H., van Hemert, B., Stijnen, T., Burger, H., & Hofman, A. (1994). J-shaped relation between change in diastolic blood pressure and progression of aortic atherosclerosis. The Lancet, 343(8896), 504–507. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(94)91459-1