The Role of Arterial Stiffness in Stratifying the Overall Cardiovascular Risk

  • Lorenzo Castello
  • Pierre Boutouyrie
  • Stéphane Laurent
  • Massimo Volpe
Review Article


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.

Key words

arterial stiffness pulse pressure pulse wave velocity augmentation index 



No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this review. The authors have no conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this review.


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Copyright information

© Adis Data Information BV 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lorenzo Castello
    • 1
  • Pierre Boutouyrie
    • 2
  • Stéphane Laurent
    • 2
  • Massimo Volpe
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Cardiology, II Faculty of MedicineUniversity of Rome “La Sapienza”, Sant’Andrea HospitalRomeItaly
  2. 2.Université Paris-Descartes, Faculté de Médecine, INSERM 652, Department of Pharmacology, Hôpital Européen “Georges Pompidou”, Assistance Publique Hôpitaux de ParisParisFrance
  3. 3.IRCCS Neuromed - PozzilliIserniaItaly

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