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Hypertension. 2009 Dec;54(6):1328-36. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.109.137653. Epub 2009 Nov 2.

Dissociation of aortic pulse wave velocity with risk factors for cardiovascular disease other than hypertension: a systematic review.

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  • 1King's College London British Heart Foundation Centre, Cardiovascular Division, Department of Clinical Pharmacology, St. Thomas' Hospital, London, United Kingdom.


Carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (cfPWV), a measure of large artery stiffness, is an important predictor of cardiovascular events. This has been attributed to it being an integrative measure of the impact of cardiovascular risk factors on the arterial wall. Pulse wave velocity is strongly associated with age and blood pressure. However, findings with regard to its relation with other risk factors have been inconsistent. We performed a systematic review of cross-sectional published literature reporting independent associations of cfPWV in multivariable regression models. Articles were selected from a PubMed search using a prespecified search strategy. Studies were included if they did the following: (1) measured cfPWV; (2) reported on associations with cfPWV from regression models; and (3) considered age and blood pressure in the model. From 637 retrieved articles, 65 met our inclusion criteria, and 12 studies were included from reference searches. Age and blood pressure were consistently independently associated with cfPWV (91% and 90% of studies, respectively). Diabetes mellitus was associated with cfPWV in 52% studies, but the strength of the association was low. The majority of studies found no independent association between cfPWV and sex, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, smoking, or body mass index. The contribution of risk factors other than age and blood pressure to cfPWV is, thus, small or insignificant. The prognostic value of cfPWV may relate to a process of arterial ageing unrelated to classic risk factors other than hypertension.

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