Measurement of pulse wave velocity in children and young adults: a comparative study using three different devices

Hypertens Res. 2011 Nov;34(11):1197-202. doi: 10.1038/hr.2011.103. Epub 2011 Jul 28.


To estimate the value of pulse wave velocity (PWV) in pediatric cardiovascular disease, prospective studies are needed. Various instruments based on different measurement principles are proposed for use in children, hence the need to test the comparability of these devices in this younger population. The objective of this study was to compare PWV measured by oscillometry (Vicorder (VIC)) with the gold standard of applanation tonometry (PulsePen (PP), Sphygmocor (SC)). PWV was measured in 98 children and young adults (age: 16.7(6.3-26.6) years (median(range)) with the above three devices at the same visit under standardized conditions. Mean PWV measured by VIC was significantly lower than that measured by SC and PP. There was no difference following path length correction of the VIC measurement (using the distance between the jugular notch and the center of the femoral cuff), (PP: 6.12(1.00), SC: 5.94(0.91), VIC: 6.14(0.75) m s(-1)). Velocities measured by the three devices showed highly significant correlations. Bland-Altman analysis revealed excellent concordance between all three devices, however, there was a small but significant proportional error in the VIC measurements showing a trend toward lower PWV measured by VIC at higher PWV values. Our study provides data on the three most frequently used instruments in pediatrics. Following path length correction of the VIC, all three devices provided comparable results. Thus, our work allows extrapolating data between previously established normal PWV values for children and forthcoming studies using these instruments to assess children at long-term risk of cardiovascular disease. The small proportional error of VIC needs additional technical development to improve the accuracy of the measurements.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Blood Flow Velocity / physiology
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Manometry / instrumentation*
  • Oscillometry / instrumentation*
  • Pulsatile Flow / physiology*
  • Reference Values
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sphygmomanometers*
  • Vascular Stiffness / physiology
  • Young Adult