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Pulse Wave Velocity Predicts Increases in Blood Pressure

Predicts increases in both normotensive and hypertensive individuals

TUESDAY, April 1 (HealthDay News) -- Pulse wave velocity, a non-invasive index of arterial stiffness, predicts longitudinal increases in blood pressure in hypertensive individuals as well as incident hypertension, researchers report in the April 8 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Samer S. Najjar, M.D., from the National Institutes of Health in Baltimore, and colleagues measured pulse wave velocity at baseline in 449 volunteers with normal blood pressure or with untreated hypertension (average age 53 years). Blood pressure was repeatedly measured during an average follow-up of 4.9 years.

After adjusting for a number of factors, the researchers found that pulse wave velocity independently predicted longitudinal increases in systolic blood pressure. One-third of a subset of 306 patients with normal blood pressure at baseline developed hypertension, with pulse wave velocity being an independent predictor of incident hypertension (hazard ratio 1.10 per 1 m/s increase in pulse wave velocity).

"Pulse wave velocity is an independent predictor of the longitudinal increase in systolic blood pressure and of incident hypertension. This suggests that pulse wave velocity could help identify normotensive individuals who should be targeted for the implementation of interventions aimed at preventing or delaying the progression of subclinical arterial stiffening and the onset of hypertension," Najjar and colleagues conclude.

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