Current Cardiovascular Risk Reports

, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 187–195 | Cite as

The Global Burden of Cardiovascular Disease: The Role of Endothelial Function and Arterial Elasticity in Cardiovascular Disease as Novel and Emerging Biomarkers



Some consider the measurements of arterial elasticity and flow-mediated dilation to be an indirect “biomarker” of endothelial dysfunction. As such, we describe the various uses of these techniques in the evaluation of the natural history of vascular disease. These measures are potential markers of disease, as abnormalities reflect changes in the integrity of vascular structure but occur prior to the manifestation of symptomatic cardiovascular events. In this review, the natural history of arterial elasticity is discussed, and the effects of aging and inflammation are reviewed. The role that arterial elasticity and flow-mediated dilation have in predicting future cardiovascular disease, and the effects of pharmacologic agents on these measures, is also reviewed.


Arterial elasticity Arterial stiffness Flow-mediated dilation 



Stephen P. Glasser reports no potential conflict of interest relevant to this article. Tanja Dudenbostel reports no potential conflict of interest relevant to this article.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Preventive Medicine and Department of EpidemiologyUniversity of Alabama at BirminghamBirminghamUSA
  2. 2.Vascular Biology and Hypertension ProgramUniversity of Alabama at BirminghamBirminghamUSA

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