Epidemiologic and clinical studies have shown that increased pulse pressure is an independent cardiovascular risk factor in general population. Pulse pressure is determined by combined effects of cardiac factors (stroke volume) and the arterial stiffness. Arterial stiffness can be more directly evaluated by several measurements including the measure of pulse wave velocity (PWV). Aortic PWV, a marker of aortic stiffness, has been shown to be a strong independent predictor of cardiovascular and all-cause mortality in patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) on hemodialysis as well as in patients with essential hypertension and older subjects over 80 years. Local arterial stiffness assessment, namely carotid distensibility was also shown to predict cardiovascular risk, both in ESRD patients and in renal transplant recipients. Furthermore, it has been shown in a therapeutic trial that the lack of aortic PWV attenuation despite significant drug-induced reduction in mean blood pressure was a significant predictor of cardiovascular death in subjects with ESRD. These results support the hypothesis that measurement of aortic PWV could then help, not only in risk assessment strategies, but also in risk reduction strategies by monitoring arterial stiffness under different pharmacologic regimens. The drug-related reduction of aortic PWV could then give prognostic information, additionally to blood pressure reduction. Aortic stiffness measurements could serve as an important tool in identifying ESRD patients at higher risk of cardiovascular disease. The ability to identify these patients would lead to better risk stratification and earlier and more cost-effective preventive therapy.
- Pulse pressure