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J Atheroscler Thromb. 2013;20(5):503-11. Epub 2013 Mar 25.

A huge earthquake hardened arterial stiffness monitored with cardio-ankle vascular index.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Toho University Sakura Medical Center, Japan.



The incidence of cardiovascular events increases after a large earthquake, but the mechanism is not fully understood. The cardio-ankle vascular index (CAVI) reflects the stiffness of the artery from the origin of the aorta to the ankles and is independent of blood pressure. To determine the effect of a major earthquake on CAVI in healthy volunteers and in patients with cardiovascular risks.


Our hospital is situated about 300 km from the epicenter of the earthquake that occurred in Japan in 2011. In study 1, healthy volunteers were included. In study 2, patients with cardiovascular factors were included. In study 1, the mean CAVI was 7.3±1.0 just after the earthquake. After 7-14 days, the mean CAVI had decreased to 6.8±1.1 (compared to firstt measurement, p<0.05). Furthermore, the CAVI value 30 days after the earthquake was 7.0±1.1. The blood pressure did not change during these 30 days. In study 2, the mean CAVI 12 and 6 months before the earthquake were 8.95±0.76 and 8.99±0.83, respectively. The CAVI was 9.34±1.0 just after the earthquake and had decreased to 8.83±0.76 6 months later (compared to after the earthquake, p< 0.05). The blood pressure increased slightly at the time of earthquake, but was not significantly different from before the earthquake.


CAVI increased in healthy people and also in patients with cardiovascular risks just after the earthquake, even far from the epicenter.

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