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Characteristics of pulse wave velocity in elastic and muscular arteries: a mismatch beyond age

Zhang, Yia,b; Agnoletti, Davideb,c; Protogerou, Athanase D.d; Topouchian, Jirarb; Wang, Ji-Guange; Xu, Yaweia; Blacher, Jacquesb; Safar, Michel E.b

doi: 10.1097/HJH.0b013e32835d4aec
ORIGINAL PAPERS: Blood vessels

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.

aDepartment of Cardiology, Shanghai Tenth People's Hospital, Tongji University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China

bDiagnosis and Therapeutic Center, Paris Descartes University, Paris, France

cDepartment of Internal Medicine, M. Bufalini Hospital, Cesena, Italy

dCardiovascular Research Laboratory, First Department of Propaedeutic Medicine, Hypertension Center, Laiko Hospital, Medical School,National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece

eCentre for Epidemiological Studies and Clinical Trials, Ruijin Hospital, Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China

Correspondence to Michel E. Safar, MD, Centre de Diagnostic et de Thérapeutique, Hôtel-Dieu, 1, place du Parvis Notre-Dame, 75181 Paris Cedex 04, France. Tel: +33 1 42 34 80 25; fax: +33 1 42 34 86 32; e-mail:

Abbreviations: AUC, area under curve; PWV, pulse wave velocity

Received 13 July, 2012

Revised 14 September, 2012

Accepted 29 November, 2012

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.