Background: Aortic pulse wave velocity (PWV) is a significant and independent predictor of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) in hypertensive subjects and in patients with end-stage renal disease, but its contribution to cardiovascular risk in subjects between 70 and 100 years old has never been tested.
Patients: A cohort of 124 subjects (mean age: 87 ± 7 years) was studied in two geriatric departments in a Paris suburb. Together with sphygmomanometric blood pressure measurements, aortic PWV was measured using a validated automatic device.
Results: Blood pressure, heart rate and body mass index, but not age, explained 48% of the PWV variability in this cohort. Furthermore, PWV was the major factor predicting the presence of CVD. The adjusted odds ratio was 17.44 (95% confidence intervals: 2.52–120.55). Antihypertensive drug therapy and low plasma albumin level had only an additive role. Blood pressure, particularly pulse pressure, had no predictive value.
Conclusion: In 70–100-year-old subjects, aortic PWV is a strong independent marker of CVD, a finding that remains to be to confirmed by long-term longitudinal studies.