Background: New 2007 European Society of Hypertension guidelines recommend measuring arterial stiffness in patients with arterial hypertension, suggesting a carotid–femoral pulse wave velocity over 12 m/s as an estimate of subclinical organ damage. Considering this cutoff point, it is worth exploring whether or not there are significant differences in results obtained using various techniques for measuring aortic pulse wave velocity. The aim of the study was to compare aortic pulse wave velocity measurements using Complior, SphygmoCor, and Arteriograph devices, and to assess the effect of pulse wave transit time and traveled distance on pulse wave velocity values.
Methods: Aortic pulse wave velocity was measured on a single visit, using these devices, in randomized order, in a group of 64 patients with grade 1 or 2 arterial hypertension.
Results: Aortic pulse wave velocity measured using Complior (10.1 ± 1.7 m/s) was significantly higher than that obtained using SphygmoCor (8.1 ± 1.1 m/s) or Arteriograph (8.6 ± 1.3 m/s). No differences were noted between pulse wave velocity measurements using SphygmoCor and Arteriograph. Between-method comparison revealed that differences in traveled distance were significant: Complior versus Arteriograph [0.09 m, Confidence interval (CI): 0.08–0.12 m, P < 0.05], Complior versus SphygmoCor (0.15 m, CI: 0.13–0.16 m, P < 0.05), Arteriograph versus SphygmoCor (0.05 m, CI: 0.03–0.07 m, P < 0.05). No between-method differences were found for transit times.
Conclusion: Differences in pulse wave velocity obtained by compared devices resulted primarily from using various methods for measuring traveled distance. It appears reasonable to establish uniform principles for the measurement of traveled distance. Because a large number of prognosis/survival studies used direct distance between carotid and femoral sites of pulse wave recording, this distance should be mostly recommended.