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Kidney Int. 2003 May;63(5):1852-60.

Aortic pulse wave velocity index and mortality in end-stage renal disease.

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Service de Médecine Interne, Hôpital Broussais, AP-HP, Paris, France.



Aortic pulse wave velocity (PWV) is a strong independent predictor of overall and cardiovascular mortality in patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Nevertheless, because age, blood pressure, heart rate, and gender are strong determinants of both arterial stiffness and mortality, the individual relevance of PWV measurements remains controversial.


A cohort of 242 patients with ESRD undergoing hemodialysis was studied for a mean (+/- SD) duration of 78 +/- 46 months. At entry, together with standard clinical and biochemical analyses, PWV was measured using Doppler ultrasonography. On the basis of a nomogram established on 469 nonuremic subjects, a theoretical value of PWV was determined in ESRD patients according to their age, blood pressure, gender, and heart period. The PWV index (measured PWV - theoretical PWV) was then calculated for each individual ESRD patient.


Based on Cox analysis, the PWV index, but neither pulse pressure nor cardiac mass, was a strong and independent predictor of both cardiovascular and overall mortality, together with age and time on dialysis before inclusion. Patients with positive (versus negative) PWV index had a twofold adjusted risk of mortality during the follow-up. Per each 1 meter/second PWV index increment, we observed a 34% (crude) and a 14% (adjusted) increase in both cardiovascular and overall mortality (P < 0.02 for all).


In ESRD patients, the calculation of a PWV index provides information about cardiovascular and overall mortality risk with high predictive power, showing that PWV measurements provide discriminatory prognostic power over and above conventional cardiovascular risk factors.

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