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Eur J Echocardiogr. 2009 Jan;10(1):36-43. doi: 10.1093/ejechocard/jen236. Epub 2008 Sep 16.

Arterial stiffness and ventricular stiffness: a couple of diseases or a coupling disease? A review from the cardiologist's point of view.

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Division of Cardiology, ARC, S. Maria degli Angeli Hospital, Via Montereale, 24, 33170 Pordenone, Italy.


The assessment of arterial stiffness, a common feature of ageing, exacerbated by many common disorders such as hypertension, diabetes mellitus, or renal diseases, has become an attractive tool for identifying structural and functional abnormalities of the arteries in the preclinical stages of the atherosclerotic disease. Arterial stiffness has been recognized as an important pathophysiological determinant of systolic blood pressure and pulse pressure increases and therefore the cause of cardiovascular complications, demonstrating also an independent predictive value for cardiovascular events. Although there are many techniques and indices currently available, their large clinical application is limited by a lack of standardization, with important difficulties when one try effectively to measure, quantify, and compare. Moreover, information on the 'heart-vessel coupling disease', in which combined stiffness of both heart and arteries interact to limit cardiovascular performance and its possible implications in different clinical conditions, is still not well known. We overviewed main methods and indices used to estimate arterial stiffness and aimed to provide an insight into the knowledge of the ventricular-arterial coupling from the cardiologist's point of view.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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