Drugs & Aging

, Volume 28, Issue 10, pp 779–795 | Cite as

Arterial Aging

A Review of the Pathophysiology and Potential for Pharmacological Intervention
  • Michael F. O’Rourke
  • Audrey Adji
  • Mayooran Namasivayam
  • Jonathan Mok
Review Article


This review begins with a perspective on the effects of arterial aging on society and world events over the past century. Until recently, the use of just one technique to measure blood pressure non-invasively limited progress in understanding the mechanisms involved and the potential of antihypertensive drug therapies. New methods for extracting information from the arterial waveform have followed the (re)introduction of arterial tonometry into clinical practice, together with mathematical analysis in the frequency and time domains. These new methods have exposed the phenomenon of aortic stiffening with age, and early wave reflection arising therefrom, and identified it as the major cause of cardiovascular degeneration. Such findings point to arterial aging as a logical target for the treatment and prevention not only of cardiac, aortic and large artery disease, but also of damage to microvessels in the brain and kidney, which in turn leads insidiously to dementia and renal failure, respectively.


Pulse Wave Velocity Wave Reflection Arterial Aging Systolic Heart Failure Aortic Pulse Wave Velocity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this review. Michael O’Rourke is the founding director of AtCor, manufacturer of Pulse Wave Analysis System. The other 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 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael F. O’Rourke
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Audrey Adji
    • 1
    • 4
  • Mayooran Namasivayam
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jonathan Mok
    • 1
  1. 1.Suite 810, St Vincent’s ClinicDarlinghurst, SydneyAustralia
  2. 2.University of New South WalesSydneyAustralia
  3. 3.Victor Chang Cardiac Research InstituteSydneyAustralia
  4. 4.Australian School of Advanced MedicineMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia

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