Carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity is not increased in obesity

Am J Hypertens. 2015 Apr;28(4):546-51. doi: 10.1093/ajh/hpu190. Epub 2014 Oct 9.


Background: There are conflicting results in the literature concerning the relationship between obesity and arterial stiffness, assessed by carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (PWV). The discrepancies could be due to differences in carotid-femoral distance measurement and/or to the presence of pathologies frequently associated with obesity and which increase arterial stiffness. In this study, we examine the relationship between PWV and weight, without and with associated cardiovascular risk factors (diabetes and/or dyslipidemia).

Methods: PWV was assessed with a Complior SP device (Alam Medical, France) in 2,034 patients referred for ambulatory blood pressure monitoring. The carotid-femoral distance used to calculate PWV was measured with a flexible tape and from the estimated straight carotid-femoral distance obtained with a published equation.

Results: In the whole cohort, PWV did not differ significantly according to weight (9.6±2.1, 9.8±2.2 and 9.7±1.9 m/s in normal weight, overweight and obese subjects, respectively, with the distance measured with a tape). PWV was significantly higher in the four groups of patients with cardiovascular risk factors (e.g., 11.1±2.4, 11.0±2.7 and 10.4±2.0 m/s in normal weight, overweight, and obese subjects, respectively, in the group treated for diabetes and dyslipidemia) than in the group of patients without cardiovascular risk factors (8.5±1.6, 8.8±1.7 and 8.5±1.2 in normal weight, overweight, and obese subjects, respectively). There was no relationship between PWV value and weight status, whether or not there were cardiovascular risk factors, and whatever the distance used to calculate PWV.

Conclusions: In our cohort, obesity per se was not associated with increased arterial stiffness.

Keywords: arterial stiffness; blood pressure; body mass index; hypertension; obesity.; pulse wave velocity.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Pressure Monitoring, Ambulatory
  • Blood Pressure*
  • Carotid Arteries / physiopathology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Femoral Artery / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / diagnosis
  • Hypertension / etiology*
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Obesity / diagnosis
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Pulse Wave Analysis*
  • Risk Factors
  • Vascular Stiffness*