Arterial stiffness and function in end-stage renal disease

Adv Chronic Kidney Dis. 2004 Apr;11(2):202-9. doi: 10.1053/j.arrt.2004.02.008.


Cardiovascular disease is a major cause of mortality in patients with end-stage renal disease, with damage to arteries as a major contributing factor. Arterial stiffness is a factor associated with high systolic and pulse pressure in these patients and is a strong independent factor associated with morbidity and mortality. Arterial stiffness is one of the principal factors opposing left ventricular ejection. The appropriate term to define the arterial factor(s) opposing left ventricular ejection is aortic input impedance. Aortic input impedance depends on TPR, arterial distensibility, and wave reflections. Distensibility defines the capacitive properties of arterial stiffness, whose role it is to dampen pressure and flow oscillations and to transform pulsatile flow and pressure in arteries into a steady flow and pressure in peripheral tissues. Stiffness is the reciprocal value of distensibility. These parameters are blood pressure dependent; arteries become stiffer at high pressure. While distensibility provides information about the elasticity of the artery as a hollow structure, the elastic incremental modulus characterizes the properties of the arterial wall biomaterials independent of vessel geometry. Alternatively, arterial distensibility can be evaluated by measuring pulse wave velocity, which increases with the stiffening of arteries. Arterial stiffening increases left ventricular afterload and alters the coronary perfusion. With increased pulse wave velocity, the wave reflections affects the aorta during systole, which increases systolic pressures and myocardial oxygen consumption and decreases diastolic blood pressure and coronary flow. The arterial stiffness is altered primarily in association with increased collagen content and alterations of extracellular matrix and calcification of the arterial wall. The arterial stiffening estimated by changes in aortic pulse wave velocity and intensity of wave reflections are independent predictors of survival in end-stage renal disease and in the general population. Improvement of arterial stiffening could be obtained by antihypertensive treatments as observed with calcium-channel blockers and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors. Angiotensin-converting enzymes inhibitors increase AC and reduce wave reflections. It has been shown that reversibility of aortic stiffening and use of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors had a favorable independent effect on survival in hypertensive patients with advanced renal disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aorta / physiopathology
  • Arteries / physiopathology*
  • Blood Pressure
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Elasticity
  • Hemodynamics*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / complications
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / physiopathology*
  • Stroke Volume