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The Role of Arterial Stiffness in Stratifying the Overall Cardiovascular Risk


Overall cardiovascular risk seems not to be completely predicted by common risk factors and scores. In recent years, evidence suggested an additional prognostic value for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease by integrating the measurement of arterial stiffness into traditional risk profiles. Such correlation is due to the haemodynamic consequences of the stiffening process, such as a decreased diastolic flow of coronary perfusion and an increase in left ventricle afterload, thus in myocardial oxygen demand. This can lead to the development of sudendocardial ischaemia and congestive heart failure. Effects of arterial stiffness may be detected by measuring different vascular parameters: pulse pressure, pulse wave velocity and augmentation index. Several trials have demonstrated these values to be significant and independent risk factors for both coronary artery disease and stroke. In the near future, such non-invasive vascular diagnostics could lead to better primary and secondary prevention in high-risk patients.

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Castello, L., Boutouyrie, P., Laurent, S. et al. The Role of Arterial Stiffness in Stratifying the Overall Cardiovascular Risk. High Blood Press Cardiovasc Prev 14, 89–97 (2007).

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Key words

  • arterial stiffness
  • pulse pressure
  • pulse wave velocity
  • augmentation index