Short-Term Prognostic Impact of Arterial Stiffness in Older Adults Without Prevalent Cardiovascular Disease

Esther D. Kim, Shoshana H. Ballew, Hirofumi Tanaka, Gerardo Heiss, Josef Coresh, Kunihiro Matsushita

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Arterial stiffness, represented as carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (cfPWV), predicts cardiovascular disease (CVD). In older populations, however, this association seems attenuated. Moreover, the prognostic values of pulse wave velocity at different arterial segments and newer parameters like cardio-ankle vascular index (CAVI) remain unclear, especially in US older adults. In 3034 Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study participants (66-90 years) without CVD, we examined the associations of 4 pulse wave velocity measures (cfPWV, heart-femoral, brachial-ankle, heart-ankle) and 2 new measures of arterial stiffness (CAVI and cardio-femoral vascular index derived from heart-ankle and heart-femoral, respectively) with incident CVD (coronary disease, stroke, and heart failure) and all-cause mortality. Over a median follow-up of 4.4 years, there were 168 incident CVD events and 244 deaths. Overall, stiffness measures did not show strong associations with CVD, except cfPWV, which demonstrated a J-shaped association even after adjusting for potential confounders (hazard ratio, 1.83 [95% CI, 1.08-3.09] in top quartile and 1.97 [1.14-3.39] in bottom quartile versus second bottom quartile). When each CVD was examined separately, heart failure was most robustly associated with higher cfPWV, and stroke was strongly associated with lower cfPWV. There were no significant associations with all-cause mortality. Among different measures of pulse wave velocity, cfPWV showed the strongest associations with CVD, especially heart failure, in older adults without CVD. Other pulse wave velocity measures had no strong associations. Our findings further support cfPWV as the index measure of arterial stiffness and the link of arterial stiffness to heart failure development but also suggest somewhat limited prognostic value of arterial stiffness in older adults overall.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1373-1382
Number of pages10
JournalHypertension (Dallas, Tex. : 1979)
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019



  • adult
  • cardiovascular diseases
  • heart failure
  • stroke
  • vascular stiffness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine

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