Purpose of review: To review the most recent publications concerning the pathophysiology and clinical impact of arterial stiffening in patients with chronic kidney disease and those with end-stage renal disease.
Recent findings: The results of recent studies confirmed that arterial stiffening is independently associated with decreased glomerular filtration rate and increased decline in parallel kidney function, and is predictive of kidney disease progression and the patient's cardiovascular outcome. Arterial stiffening is of multifactorial origin, including arterial calcifications, systemic inflammation, malnutrition, vitamin deficiencies, endothelial dysfunction, and bone activity.
Summary: Arterial stiffness and intensity of wave reflections are considered the principal determinants of systolic blood and pulse pressures, and their measurements are increasingly used to assess cardiovascular risk. Aortic stiffness has independent predictive value for all-cause and cardiovascular mortality in general populations and in patients with end-stage renal disease. Arterial stiffening in patients with chronic kidney disease and those with end-stage renal disease is of multifactorial origin with extensive arterial calcifications representing a major covariate. Carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity is a direct measure of aortic stiffness and is the 'gold standard' for its evaluation in clinical and epidemiological studies.