aortic stiffness and cardiovascular risk

Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death globally. The measurement of aortic stiffness in hypertensive patients helps predict the risk of cardiovascular disease for early management.

Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death globally. People with hypertension are more prone to cardiovascular diseases.  Aortic stiffness is a cause of hypertension and it precedes the latter. Hence it can be used to estimate the risk of cardiovascular diseases and as a set target for patient management.  It can be measured by estimated pulse wave velocity (ePWV).

In a recent study, published in JAMA Network Open, 9361 patients were selected from SPRINT (Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial) and studied for 3.26 years. Their ePWV was calculated at baseline and at 12 months, from their age and systolic blood pressure. The patients were divided into groups based on the target systolic blood pressure-120mm Hg (intensive treatment) or less than 140mmHg (standard treatment) and their response to treatment. People whose ePWV responded to antihypertensive treatment independent of systolic blood pressure showed 42% lower death risk.

According to the study, ePWV showed better risk prediction than the traditional scores like FRS. The authors note, “Better survival of individuals whose ePWV responded to antihypertensive treatment independently of systolic blood pressure reduction suggests a role of markers of aortic stiffness as effective treatment targets in individuals with hypertension.”

The use of aortic stiffness is a novel, non-invasive and a more reliable method to predict the cardiovascular risk in hypertensive individuals.


Written by Dr.Radhika Baitari, MS


Reference:  Vlachopoulos, C., Terentes-Printzios, D., Laurent, S., Nilsson, P., Protogerou, A., Aznaouridis, K., Xaplanteris, P., Koutagiar, I., Tomiyama, H., Yamashina, A., Sfikakis, P. and Tousoulis, D. (2019). Association of Estimated Pulse Wave Velocity With Survival. JAMA Network Open, 2(10), p.e1912831.

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