Ambulatory Aortic Stiffness Is Associated With Narrow Retinal Arteriolar Caliber in Hypertensives: The SAFAR Study

Evaggelia K. Aissopou*, Antoni. S. A. Argyris, Efthimia G. Nasothimiou, George D. Konstantonis, Kostas Tampakis, Nikolaos Tentolouris, Miltiadis Papathanassiou, Panagiotis G. Theodossiadis, Theodoros G. Papaioannou, Coen D. A. Stehouwer, Petros P. Sfikakis, Athanassios D. Protogerou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND Arterial stiffness measured under static conditions reclassifies significantly cardiovascular (CV) risk and associates with narrower retinal arterioles. However, arterial stiffness exhibits circadian variation, thus single static stiffness recordings do not correspond to the "usual" 24hr, awake, and asleep average arterial stiffness. We aimed to test the hypothesis that ambulatory 24hr, awake, and asleep aortic (a) pulse wave velocity (PWV) associate with retinal vessel calibers, independently of confounders and of static arterial stiffness, in hypertensive individuals free from diabetes and CV disease. METHODS Digital retinal images were obtained (181 individuals, age: 53.9 +/- 10.7 years, 55.2% men) and retinal vessel calibers were measured with validated software to determine central retinal arteriolar and venular equivalents (CRAE and CRVE, respectively); ambulatory (24 hr, awake, asleep) and static office aPWV were estimated by Mobil-O-Graph; and static office carotid to femoral (cf) PWV by SphygmoCor. RESULTS Regression analysis performed in 320 gradable retinal images showed that, after adjustment for confounders: (i) ambulatory aPWV was significantly associated with narrower retinal arterioles but not with venules; (ii) asleep aPWV had stronger associations with CRAE than awake aPWV; (iii) both ambulatory aPWV and cfPWV were associated mutually independently with narrower retinal arterioles; aPWV introduction in the model of cfPWV, improved model's R-2 (P = 0.012). Similar discriminatory ability of 24 hr aPWV and of cfPWV to detect the presence of retinal arteriolar narrowing was found. CONCLUSION Ambulatory aPWV, estimated by an operator-independent method, provides additional information to cfPWV regarding the associations of arterial stiffness with the retinal vessel calibers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)626-633
JournalAmerican Journal of Hypertension
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2016


  • ambulatory arterial stiffness
  • arterial distensibility
  • blood pressure
  • hypertension
  • pulse wave velocity
  • retinal arterioles
  • retinal venules

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