The Noninvasive Assessment of Vascular Aging

Can J Cardiol. 2016 May;32(5):669-79. doi: 10.1016/j.cjca.2016.01.039. Epub 2016 Mar 4.


The growing interest in the clinical measurement of arterial aging through the noninvasive assessment of arterial stiffness is associated with important developments in novel methods and apparatus. In this review, we aimed to describe the major principles of the measurement of arterial stiffness and to critically review the advantages and limitations of the different methods. The measurement of regional stiffness is recommended by international guidelines for routine clinical practice. It is most often determined through pulse wave velocity (PWV) between 2 arterial sites. Methods using a single-site cuff-based measurement are promising. Local determination of arterial stiffness, obtained either with the well-established, high-resolution echo tracking systems or more recently with magnetic resonance imaging, is indicated for pathophysiological and pharmacologic studies. Novel apparatus that were developed for determining arterial stiffness claimed superiority over pioneering methods either through greater simplicity of use, better repeatability, or a more pertinent arterial pathway. However, the true additive value of measuring arterial aging with a given apparatus had to be translated into the predictive value of arterial stiffness as an intermediate end point, ie, the higher the arterial stiffness the higher the number of cardiovascular (CV) events. Thus, another important aim of this review was to analyze the amount of epidemiologic evidence obtained with a given method regarding the predictive value of arterial stiffness for CV events.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aging*
  • Biomarkers
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Humans
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Pulse Wave Analysis / methods
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Vascular Stiffness*


  • Biomarkers