Relations of cardiovascular risk factors to aortic pulse wave velocity in asymptomatic middle-aged women

Eur J Epidemiol. 1993 May;9(3):298-306. doi: 10.1007/BF00146267.


Cross-sectional associations between aortic elasticity assessed by carotid to femoral pulse wave velocity (PWV) and cardiovascular risk factors were examined in 429 apparently healthy middle-aged women. PWV was strongly and positively related to blood pressure and hypertension. Weak but significant positive associations were also found between PWV and age, heart rate, some lipids and lipoproteins, blood glucose (either as a continuous or dichotomous variable), body mass index, haematocrit, leucocyte count and family history of diabetes. No associations were observed between PWV and high density lipoprotein cholesterol, apolipoprotein A1, fibrinogen, cigarette smoking, menopausal status and a family history of hypertension or myocardial infarction. After adjustment for systolic blood pressure, PWV remained significantly related to heart rate, leucocyte count, blood glucose (as a dichotomous variable) and a family history of diabetes. Multiple regression analysis showed that systolic blood pressure and, to a lesser extent, heart rate, leucocyte count and a family history of diabetes were all independent determinants of PWV. This pattern of associations suggests that arterial stiffness measured by PWV reflects the sclerotic rather than the atherotic component of atherosclerosis. The potential influence of a family history of diabetes on the elastic properties of the aorta needs to be ascertained in further studies.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aorta / physiopathology*
  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Blood Pressure
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / complications
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Elasticity
  • Estrogen Replacement Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Menopause
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Pulse*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors