Age-specific acute changes in carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity with head-up tilt

Giacomo Pucci, Bart Spronck, Alberto P. Avolio, Lisanne Tap, Gaetano Vaudo, Fabio Anastasio, Anton Van Den Meiracker, Francesco Mattace-Raso*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    8 Citations (Scopus)
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    BACKGROUND: Aortic stiffness as measured by carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (cfPWV) is known to depend on blood pressure (BP), and this dependency may change with age. Therefore, the hydrostatic BP gradient resulting from a change in body posture may elicit a cfPWV change that is age-dependent. We aimed to analyze the relationship between BP gradient - induced by head-up body tilting - and related changes in cfPWV in individuals of varying age. METHODS: cfPWV and other hemodynamic parameters were measured in 30 healthy individuals at a head-up tilt of 0° (supine), 30°, and 60°. At each angle, the PWV gradient and resulting cfPWV were also estimated (predicted) by assuming a global nonlinear, exponential, pressure-diameter relationship characterized by a constant β0, and taking into account that (diastolic) foot-to-foot cfPWV acutely depends on diastolic BP. RESULTS: cfPWV significantly increased upon body tilting (8.0 ± 2.0 m/s supine, 9.1 ± 2.6 m/s at 30°, 9.5 ± 3.2 m/s at 60°, P for trend <0.01); a positive trend was also observed for heart rate (HR; P < 0.01). When the observed, tilt-induced cfPWV change measured by applanation tonometry was compared with that predicted from the estimated BP hydrostatic gradient, the difference in observed-vs.-predicted PWV change increased nonlinearly as a function of age (R2 for quadratic trend = 0.38, P < 0.01, P vs. linear = 0.04). This result was unaffected by HR tilt-related variations (R2 for quadratic trend = 0.37, P < 0.01, P vs. linear = 0.04). CONCLUSIONS: Under a hydrostatic pressure gradient, the pulse wave traveling along the aorta undergoes an age-related, nonlinear PWV increase exceeding the increase predicted from BP dependency.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1112-1118
    Number of pages7
    JournalAmerican Journal of Hypertension
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright the Author(s) 2020. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


    • arterial function
    • arterial stiffness
    • blood pressure
    • early vascular aging
    • hypertension
    • pressure dependence


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