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Hypertension. 2013 Nov;62(5):934-41. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.113.01445. Epub 2013 Sep 3.

Longitudinal trajectories of arterial stiffness and the role of blood pressure: the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging.

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Laboratory of Cardiovascular Science, Biomedical Research Center, 251 Bayview Blvd, Suite 100, Room 09B116, Baltimore, MD 21224.


Carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (PWV), a marker of arterial stiffness, is an established independent cardiovascular risk factor. Little information is available on the pattern and determinants of the longitudinal change in PWV with aging. Such information is crucial to elucidating mechanisms underlying arterial stiffness and the design of interventions to retard it. Between 1988 and 2013, we collected 2 to 9 serial measures of PWV in 354 men and 423 women of the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, who were 21 to 94 years of age and free of clinically significant cardiovascular disease. Rates of PWV increase accelerated with advancing age in men more than women, leading to sex differences in PWV after the age of 50 years. In both sexes, not only systolic blood pressure (SBP) ≥140 mm Hg but also SBP of 120 to 139 mm Hg was associated with steeper rates of PWV increase compared with SBP<120 mm Hg. Furthermore, there was a dose-dependent effect of SBP in men with marked acceleration in PWV rate of increase with age at SBP ≥140 mm Hg compared with SBP of 120 to 139 mm Hg. Except for waist circumference in women, no other traditional cardiovascular risk factors predicted longitudinal PWV increase. In conclusion, the steeper longitudinal increase of PWV in men than women led to the sex difference that expanded with advancing age. Age and SBP are the main longitudinal determinants of PWV, and the effect of SBP on PWV trajectories exists even in the prehypertensive range.


aging; blood pressure; vascular stiffness

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