Clinical relevance of central blood pressure: a critical review

Michael Kostapanos*, Carmel M. McEniery, Ian B. Wilkinson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Vital organs are exposed to the central rather than the brachial blood pressure. To date, central blood pressure can be assessed noninvasively through the use of several devices. In this review, we critically discuss the clinical relevance of central blood pressure assessment. Considerable evidence suggests that central blood pressure is a better predictor of end-organ damage than brachial blood pressure. However, there is still uncertainty concerning the value of central pressure for predicting cardiovascular outcomes, as the existing studies are underpowered to address this issue. A full synthesis of the available data is needed in this regard. Among the different antihypertensive drug classes, beta-blockers appear to lower central blood pressure less than brachial blood pressure. This difference may, at least in part, explain the reduced effi cacy of beta-blockers in the prevention of cardiovascular outcomes compared with the other antihypertensive drug classes, which may lower central and brachial blood pressure to a similar extent. Nevertheless, this differential effect might not be relevant to the newer beta-blockers with vasodilating properties, including nebivolol, celliprolol and carvedilol. However, whether a preferential reduction of central blood pressure results in better outcomes should be further assessed by appropriately powered clinical trials. Other emerging challenges include the assessment of the potential predictive value of central blood pressure variability and the development of new antihypertensive medications based on central blood pressure rather than brachial blood pressure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)451-460
Number of pages10
JournalVasa - European Journal of Vascular Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Beta-blockers
  • Brachial blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular risk
  • Central blood pressure


Dive into the research topics of 'Clinical relevance of central blood pressure: a critical review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this