Background: Although aortic pulse wave velocity (PWV) has been accepted as gold standard of arterial stiffness, characteristics of PWVs in other arteries have never been reported.
Methods: We measured carotid-femoral, carotid-pedis, carotid-radial, and femoral-pedis PWVs by a validated tonometry PulsePen, and assessed body fat percentage by bioelectrical impedance analyzer, carotid intima–media thickness (IMT) by ultrasonograph, and other cardiovascular risk factors, in 198 patients from our ambulatory cardiovascular department.
Results: Carotid-femoral and carotid-pedis PWVs increased significantly and progressively with age in both men and women (P ≤ 0.03), whereas only in men, a slight increase and decrease in carotid-radial and femoral-pedis PWVs, respectively, were detected with aging (P ≤ 0.006). Carotid-femoral and carotid-pedis PWVs, but not carotid-radial and femoral-pedis PWVs, were significantly associated with age, body height and body fat percentage, brachial mean blood pressure (MBP), and pulse pressure (PP), carotid PP, PP amplification, carotid IMT, plasma glucose and taking antihypertensive agent (P ≤ 0.047). In full adjustment models, carotid-femoral PWV increased by 0.89 ± 0.21, 0.38 ± 0.13, 0.74 ± 0.26, 0.40 ± 0.16, 0.51 ± 0.23 m/s, with an increase of 10 years in age, of 1 mmol/l in plasma glucose, of 10 mmHg in brachial PP, of 100 μm in IMT, and of 10 mmHg in brachial MBP, respectively, whereas carotid-pedis PWV increased by 0.31 ± 0.11 and 0.33 ± 0.12 m/s with an increase of 10 years in age and of 10 mmHg in brachial MBP, respectively.
Conclusion: Arterial stiffness in elastic arteries, but not in muscular arteries, increased significantly and progressively with age, and was more closely correlated to BP, plasma glucose and arterial thickness.