Brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity as an index of central arterial stiffness

J Atheroscler Thromb. 2010 Jun 30;17(6):658-65. doi: 10.5551/jat.3616. Epub 2010 May 13.


Aim: Stiffness of the central arteries plays an important role in the pathophysiology of cardiovascular disease, and pulse wave velocity (PWV) of the aorta has been used as the standard measure of central arterial stiffness. An automated device for brachial-ankle (ba) PWV is available, although information is limited whether baPWV reflects the stiffness of central or peripheral arteries. We therefore addressed this question in the present study.

Methods: The subjects were 2,806 consecutive participants in our non-invasive vascular laboratory, excluding those with an ankle-brachial index (ABI) lower than 0.95. PWV measurements were simultaneously performed using an automated device for the ba, heart-femoral (hf, aorta), heart-carotid (hc), heart-brachial (hb), and femoral-ankle (fa) segments. Correlational analyses were performed (1) among these PWV values, (2) between PWV and individual risk factors, and (3) between PWV and the Framingham risk score (FRS), a surrogate index for integrated cardiovascular risk.

Results: The correlation of baPWV was the highest with hfPWV (r=0.796) and the lowest with hcPWV (r=0.541). Among the known factors preferentially affecting central arterial stiffness, higher age, diabetes mellitus, and chronic kidney disease (CKD) were also closely associated with increased baPWV. Finally, FRS was more closely correlated with hfPWV (r=0.613) and baPWV (r=0.609) than with hbPWV (r=0.523), hcPWV (r=0.509), and faPWV (r=0.393).

Conclusion: These results indicate that baPWV is an index of arterial stiffness showing similar characteristics to those of aortic PWV.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Ankle Brachial Index / instrumentation*
  • Ankle Brachial Index / methods
  • Arteries
  • Automation
  • Cardiovascular Diseases
  • Humans
  • Pulsatile Flow / physiology*
  • Vascular Resistance / physiology*