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Hypertension. 2009 Aug;54(2):421-6. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.109.133645. Epub 2009 Jun 8.

Pulse wave velocity assessment by external noninvasive devices and phase-contrast magnetic resonance imaging in the obese.

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Centre de GĂ©riatrie et MĂ©decine Interne, CHU de Nancy, Rue du Morvan, 54511 Vandoeuvre les Nancy, France.


Carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (PWV) is considered the gold-standard measurement of arterial stiffness. Obesity, however, can render inaccurate the measurement of PWV by external noninvasive devices. Phase-contrast MRI allows the determination of aortic PWV in multiple aortic locations with intra-arterial distance measurements, as well as the assessment of aortic mechanical properties. The purpose of this study was to assess the reliability of external carotid-femoral PWV values measured by well-validated external devices in comparison with MRI acquisitions of PWV and aortic mechanical properties in a population of obese subjects. PWV was measured with PulsePen and Complior II devices in 32 volunteers (18 men and 14 women), aged 46 to 65 years (mean: 55.7+/-5.1 years), presenting with isolated abdominal obesity, with a waist circumference >102 cm for men and >88 cm for women, and a body mass index between 27 and 35. These results were then compared with MRI PWV values and cross-sectional MRI thoracic aorta distensibility values. MRI PWV values were positively correlated with PWV measured by both PulsePen (r=0.47; P=0.005) and Complior (r=0.43; P=0.01). Aortic cross-sectional stiffness was positively correlated with PulsePen PWV (r=0.42; P=0.02). The same trend was also observed with Complior PWV (r=0.33; P=0.06). This is the first study comparing transcutaneous PWV measurements with MRI aortic elastic properties in obese subjects. Our results indicate that, for body mass index values < or =35 kg m(-2), PWV measured externally with Complior or PulsePen validly reflect values obtained directly in the thoracic aorta through MRI.

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