The aortic-femoral arterial stiffness gradient: an atherosclerosis risk in communities (ARIC) study

J Hypertens. 2021 Jul 1;39(7):1370-1377. doi: 10.1097/HJH.0000000000002808.


Background: The aortic to femoral arterial stiffness gradient (af-SG) may be a novel measure of arterial health and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk, but its association with CVD risk factors and CVD status, and whether or not they differ from the referent measure, carotid-femoral pulse-wave velocity (cfPWV), is not known.

Method: Accordingly, we compared the associations of the af-SG and cfPWV with (i) age and traditional CVD risk factors and (ii) CVD status. We evaluated 4183 older-aged (75.2 ± 5.0 years) men and women in the community-based Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study. cfPWV and femoral-ankle PWV (faPWV) were measured using an automated cardiovascular screening device. The af-SG was calculated as faPWV divided by cfPWV. Associations of af-SG and cfPWV with age, CVD risk factors (age, BMI, blood pressure, heart rate, glucose and blood lipid levels) and CVD status (hypertension, diabetes, coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke) were determined using linear and logistic regression analyses.

Results: (i) the af-SG and cfPWV demonstrated comparable associations with age and CVD risk factors, except BMI. (ii) a low af-SG was associated with diabetes, coronary heart disease, heart failure and stroke, whilst a high cfPWV was only associated with diabetes.

Conclusion: Although future studies are necessary to confirm clinical utility, the af-SG is a promising tool that may provide a unique picture of hemodynamic integration and identification of CVD risk when compared with cfPWV.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Atherosclerosis* / epidemiology
  • Blood Pressure
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Carotid Arteries
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pulse Wave Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Vascular Stiffness*