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Journal Articles American Journal of Hypertension Year : 2020

Arterial Stiffness in Hypertension and Function of Large Arteries


Abstract BACKGROUND Arterial stiffness—typically assessed from non-invasive measurement of pulse wave velocity along a straight portion of the vascular tree between the right common carotid and femoral arteries—is a reliable predictor of cardiovascular risk in patients with essential hypertension. METHODS We reviewed how carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity increases with age and is significantly higher in hypertension (than in age- and gender-matched individuals without hypertension), particularly when hypertension is associated with diabetes mellitus. RESULTS From the elastic aorta to the muscular peripheral arteries of young healthy individuals, there is a gradual but significant increase in stiffness, with a specific gradient. This moderates the transmission of pulsatile pressure towards the periphery, thus protecting the microcirculatory network. The heterogeneity of stiffness between the elastic and muscular arteries causes the gradient to disappear or be inversed with aging, particularly in long-standing hypertension. CONCLUSIONS In hypertension therefore, pulsatile pressure transmission to the microcirculation is augmented, increasing the potential risk of damage to the brain, the heart, and the kidney. Furthermore, elevated pulse pressure exacerbates end-stage renal disease, particularly in older hypertensive individuals. With increasing age, the elastin content of vessel walls declines throughout the arterial network, and arterial stiffening increases further due to the presence of rigid wall material such as collagen, but also fibronectin, proteoglycans, and vascular calcification. Certain genes, mainly related to angiotensin and/or aldosterone, affect this aging process and contribute to the extent of arterial stiffness, which can independently affect both forward and reflected pressure waves.

Dates and versions

hal-03571160 , version 1 (13-02-2022)



Yi Zhang, Patrick Lacolley, Athanase Protogerou, Michel Safar. Arterial Stiffness in Hypertension and Function of Large Arteries. American Journal of Hypertension, 2020, 33 (4), pp.291-296. ⟨10.1093/ajh/hpz193⟩. ⟨hal-03571160⟩
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