Objectives: The purpose of this study was to calculate robust quantitative estimates of the predictive value of aortic pulse wave velocity (PWV) for future cardiovascular (CV) events and all-cause mortality by meta-analyses of longitudinal studies.
Background: Arterial stiffness is increasingly recognized as a surrogate end point for CV disease.
Methods: We performed a meta-analysis of 17 longitudinal studies that evaluated aortic PWV and followed up 15,877 subjects for a mean of 7.7 years.
Results: The pooled relative risk (RR) of clinical events increased in a stepwise, linear-like fashion from the first to the third tertile of aortic PWV. The pooled RRs of total CV events, CV mortality, and all-cause mortality were 2.26 (95% confidence interval: 1.89 to 2.70, 14 studies), 2.02 (95% confidence interval: 1.68 to 2.42, 10 studies), and 1.90 (95% confidence interval: 1.61 to 2.24, 11 studies), respectively, for high versus low aortic PWV subjects. For total CV events and CV mortality, the RR was significantly higher in high baseline risk groups (coronary artery disease, renal disease, hypertension) compared with low-risk subjects (general population). An increase in aortic PWV by 1 m/s corresponded to an age-, sex-, and risk factor-adjusted risk increase of 14%, 15%, and 15% in total CV events, CV mortality, and all-cause mortality, respectively. An increase in aortic PWV by 1 SD was associated with respective increases of 47%, 47%, and 42%.
Conclusions: Aortic stiffness expressed as aortic PWV is a strong predictor of future CV events and all-cause mortality. The predictive ability of arterial stiffness is higher in subjects with a higher baseline CV risk.