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Pediatr Nephrol. 2008 Mar;23(3):439-44. Epub 2007 Dec 21.

Pulse contour analysis: a valid assessment of central arterial stiffness in children?

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Division of Paediatric Nephrology, Children's Hospital, University of Bern, Berne, Switzerland.


In adults the contour analysis of peripheral pressure waves in the upper limb reflects central aortic stiffness. Here, we wanted to demonstrate the appropriateness of pulse contour analysis to assess large artery stiffness in children. Digital volume pulse analysis, with the computation of the stiffness index and pulse wave velocity between carotid and femoral artery, were simultaneously determined in 79 healthy children between 8 years and 15 years (mean age 11.4 years, 32 girls). The stiffness index of 42 healthy adults (mean age 45.6 years, 26 women) served as control. Pulse wave velocity between carotid and femoral artery was directly correlated with systolic pressure and mean blood pressure, as well as with pulse pressure. The results from the stiffness index of children revealed the expected values extrapolated from the linear regression of adulthood stiffness index vs. age. Childhood stiffness index positively correlated with pulse wave velocity (r(2) = 0.07, P = 0.02) but not with blood pressure parameters. The exclusion of individuals with an increased vascular tone, as indicated by a reflexion index > 90%, improved the correlation between stiffness index and pulse wave velocity (r(2) = 0.13, P = 0.001). Our data indicate that digital volume pulse-based analysis has limitations if compared with pulse wave velocity to measure arterial stiffness, mostly in patients with a high vascular tone.

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