Reference values and factors associated with renal resistive index in a family-based population study

Belén Ponte, Menno Pruijm, Daniel Ackermann, Philippe Vuistiner, Ute Eisenberger, Idris Guessous, Valentin Rousson, Markus G. Mohaupt, Heba Alwan, Georg Ehret, Antoinette Pechere-Bertschi, Fred Paccaud, Jan A. Staessen, Bruno Vogt, Michel Burnier, Pierre Yves Martin, Murielle Bochud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Increased renal resistive index (RRI) has been recently associated with target organ damage and cardiovascular or renal outcomes in patients with hypertension and diabetes mellitus. However, reference values in the general population and information on familial aggregation are largely lacking. We determined the distribution of RRI, associated factors, and heritability in a population-based study. Families of European ancestry were randomly selected in 3 Swiss cities. Anthropometric parameters and cardiovascular risk factors were assessed. A renal Doppler ultrasound was performed, and RRI was measured in 3 segmental arteries of both kidneys. We used multilevel linear regression analysis to explore the factors associated with RRI, adjusting for center and family relationships. Sex-specific reference values for RRI were generated according to age. Heritability was estimated by variance components using the ASSOC program (SAGE software). Four hundred women (mean age±SD, 44.9±16.7 years) and 326 men (42.1±16.8 years) with normal renal ultrasound had mean RRI of 0.64±0.05 and 0.62±0.05, respectively (P<0.001). In multivariable analyses, RRI was positively associated with female sex, age, systolic blood pressure, and body mass index. We observed an inverse correlation with diastolic blood pressure and heart rate. Age had a nonlinear association with RRI. We found no independent association of RRI with diabetes mellitus, hypertension treatment, smoking, cholesterol levels, or estimated glomerular filtration rate. The adjusted heritability estimate was 42±8% (P<0.001). In a population-based sample with normal renal ultrasound, RRI normal values depend on sex, age, blood pressure, heart rate, and body mass index. The significant heritability of RRI suggests that genes influence this phenotype.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)136-142
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014


  • Reference values
  • Ultrasonography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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